LEANNE McCRATE: Fatty liver and weight loss | News

Dear Nutritionist: My husband was diagnosed with NAFLD. His doctor told him to lose weight, and he tried, but he was discouraged and stopped dieting. I'm worried about his health, but what can I do? — Lauren

Dear Lauren: One of the most challenging things in life is watching someone struggle with a medical condition. This can be more difficult than when we are struggling on our own. Of course, you are concerned about your husband's health, and there are many ways you can offer love and support.

If you cook, prepare tasty, healthy meals according to his health plan. Encourage him to join a support group, which has been linked to an increased success rate. These groups meet in person and online; you can find one near you at liverfoundation.org.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a disease in which fat builds up in the liver. It is estimated that approximately 100 million Americans suffer from the disease. Once upon a time, fatty liver was almost always caused by excessive drinking. With the increasing rates of obesity in today's society, this is now happening to non-alcoholics. If left untreated, it can lead to inflammation and liver damage, a condition known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Since these conditions are often asymptomatic, it is important to have a yearly checkup. At that point, your doctor may order blood tests to monitor liver enzyme levels.

Most people with NAFLD or NASH lead normal lives with stable disease. However, these conditions can lead to cirrhosis, increasing the risk of liver failure and cancer.

Risk factors for NAFLD include obesity, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. While obesity and diabetes are familiar to most of us, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome are lesser-known conditions. Insulin resistance occurs when the pancreas secretes insulin, but it cannot reach the cells that need it. As a result, blood sugar levels rise. When blood sugar levels are high, fats cannot be broken down effectively, leaving high levels of fatty acids in the blood. These fatty acids enter the liver but cannot be efficiently metabolized, so they accumulate.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of health conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke). For this diagnosis, three or more of the following conditions must be present: high blood pressure (or taking medication for this condition), obesity, insulin resistance, low HDL (good cholesterol) or high triglycerides (or take medicine) ).

There are no medicines for fatty liver and NASH, but these conditions are treatable. The most successful programs were weight loss and exercise. A 7-10% reduction in total body weight has been shown to improve results. It's important not to lose weight too quickly, as this can make the situation worse. A registered dietitian nutritionist will guide you in creating a meal plan for slow, sustained weight loss. Ask your healthcare provider about an RDN referral.

See you next time and stay healthy!

dear nutritionist

Ryan McCratt, RDN, LD, aka Dear Dietitian, is an award-winning nutritionist in Missouri. Her mission is to educate consumers about healthy, science-based nutrition. Do you have nutritional issues? Email her dearietitian411@gmail.com today. Dear Dietitian does not endorse any product, health program or diet plan.

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