When you’re drinking or eating too much, have you ever thought how much your lifestyle affects your health? It’s about time to shower your liver with much-needed TLC.
Diseases and complications arise from overworking and under-appreciating the liver. Cirrhosis and hepatic cancer are the most dreaded of these – and the fast-growing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the culprits that lead to them. With its cousins obesity and metabolic syndrome – lifestyle diseases that led to NAFLD – this new epidemic has been increasing in prevalence in Asian countries in the last two decades, particularly among younger patients.
Beat the statistics with these prevention tips:
Modify your menu to be low in carbohydrates and low in fat. Consume less sugary drinks but go liberal in adding fiber to your diet. A moderate caloric intake of 500-1,000 kcal for obese adults is recommended.
Sweat it out. Moderate aerobic exercise at least four times a week is optimal. Target at least 150 minutes of accumulated workout time per week.
Watch your waistline. A recent short-term weight gain ma cause NAFLD, and waist circumference predicts a fatty liver better than body mass index does. The World Health Organization and the International Diabetes Federation recommend that targets for abdominal circumference be no more than 35 inches for Asian men and less than 31.5 inches for Asian women to reduce health risks.
Target the culprits. Improving insulin resistance and correcting existing metabolic disorders can curb NAFLD. Consult a physician about taking drugs like metformin or statins to decrease blood pressure and correct glucose and lipid abnormalities.
Increase protection. Adjunctive therapy by means of liver-protective and anti-inflammatory drugs may be recommended by your doctor. For example, phosphatidycholine, a phosphalipid that helps repair damaged cell membranes and allows the liver to regenerate for it to do its functions may help treat NAFLD, hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Reduce further damage. Avoid drastic weight changes, extremely low calorie diets, intestinal infections, drugs or food that may be dangerous for the liver. Strictly forbid excess alcohol intake.
To supplement this liver-loving lifestyle, record your progress in a chart that features diet, exercise, body weight and waist circumference. This can serve as a monitoring and communication tool between you and your doctor.