College of DuPage Nursing Student Thomas Flock researched for Healthy Lombard that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) develops from an excess of fat in the liver and surrounding area. Poor management of this disease can lead to liver cirrhosis. NAFLD can also be a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and kidney disease (Department of Veteran Affairs, United States, 2021). People living with NAFLD are normally asymptomatic. Often people with NAFLD have preexisting conditions, such as obesity, diabetes or insulin resistance, high blood pressure to name a few. But how do I prevent and/ or manage NAFLD?
The first and most important answer is a healthy diet. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables with limited added sugar is a great start to a healthy diet. Other foods can include fish, avocados, walnuts, oatmeal, and sunflower seeds. When it comes to drinks, the first rule is NO alcohol. If you do drink alcohol, make sure it is limited, as alcohol can help NAFLD progression to liver cirrhosis. Good liquids to have are water, milk, green tea, and even that early morning coffee. Balancing your diet can be difficult, but the right planning can easily be attained.
The next is exercise. Physical activity, from walking to jogging to a full-on run, will all get the job done. The US Department of Veteran Affairs recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day (Department of Veteran Affairs, United States, 2021). The goal is to get moving. Exercising may seem like a lot, but you don’t even have to join a gym. Walk at your nearby park, take a bike ride, go for a swim. This will help promote a healthier lifestyle and help to lose a few pounds, which is important in managing NAFLD.
The last is managing the preexisting conditions. Whether it be diabetes, high blood pressure, or low cholesterol, it is key to manage it. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage, and for more information about fatty liver testing and management
In all, staying out of your health is vital to a long and happy life. Not only will managing NAFLD help prevent liver cirrhosis, but also encourage a healthier lifestyle in general. For more information on NAFLD ask your doctor or visit the National Institutes of Health website at https://www.nih.gov/
Department of Veteran Affairs, United States. “Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Information for Patients.” Apr. 2021.
Piercy, K. L., Troiano, R. P., Ballard, R. M., Carlson, S. A., Fulton, J. E., Galuska, D. A., George, S. M., & Olson, R. D. (2018). The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. JAMA, 320(19), 2020–2028. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2018.14854