You may be at risk for liver disease and not even know it. Consider this: Fatty liver disease affects an estimated 80 to 100 million Americans and many are completely unaware they have it. Fortunately, you don’t have to be among them.
Take the Liver Health Quiz
Through a simple liver health quiz, available at ThinkLiverThinkLife.org/quiz, it is easy to find out if you’re at risk and learn what to do next. Those who are most at risk for fatty liver disease include:
• People with type 2 diabetes
• People who are obese or have a high BMI
• People in Asian and Hispanic communities
What To Know
Fatty liver disease is one of the most common causes of liver disease in the U.S. and the most common cause of liver disease worldwide, affecting one billion people. It is the most common form of liver disease in children in the U.S. and cases have more than doubled over the last 20 years.
Causing excess fat to build up in the liver, fatty liver disease has little to no symptoms. Its exact causes are unknown but continued research indicates genetics, digestive disorders and diet can all play a role.
Research also indicates that fatty liver disease is not caused by heavy alcohol use (alcohol-associated liver disease). Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is an advanced form of fatty liver disease causing inflammation and liver damage, which can lead to liver failure and the need for liver transplant.
A Look at Your Liver
A healthy liver is essential to your overall health and wellness, and performs many necessary functions such as:
• Filtering toxins from your blood
• Making bile to help with digestion
• Storing sugar for energy
• Making protein for blood plasma
Additionally, the liver is the only solid organ in your body that can regenerate or repair itself, so getting an early diagnosis is critical. Often, liver patients can reverse liver damage or slow disease progression with a few small changes to their daily lifestyle.
Minimizing Your Risk
Everything you eat, breathe and touch is processed through your liver, therefore ensuring good liver health is critical. You can take steps to minimize your risk of fatty liver disease by following these simple tips:
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Eat a healthy diet
• Exercise regularly
• Limit alcohol intake
• Take medications only as prescribed
In October, which is National Liver Awareness Month, the American Liver Foundation (ALF) encourages everyone to find out if they are at risk for fatty liver disease through its national public awareness campaign, Think Liver Think Life™.