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What is Fatty Liver Disease? Characteristics, Types and Treatment

Hepatic steatosis, also known as “fatty liver disease”, is a reversible condition that usually disappears by modifying some daily habits. While it’s not a healthy condition to have, you can prevent it from becoming serious if a doctor treats the problem in time.

In addition to your professional medication treatment, certain natural remedies can be effective in helping to improve liver function. That said, discover the characteristics of this ailment and how it can be fought in this article.

The characteristics and types of fatty liver disease

This ailment occurs in those whose level of fat in this organ represents between 5% and 10% of their liver weight. In most cases, diabetic patients or people with excess weight suffer from it.

According to the National Library of Medicine, this disease can be classified into two types:

  • Alcoholic fatty liver: The cause is excessive alcohol consumption. This is the earliest stage of a liver disorder, such as cirrhosis (a late stage of liver scarring). When the liver is unhealthy, it can’t break down fat, and this then accumulates. If a person stops drinking alcohol in time, the condition may improve (after six to eight weeks of abstinence). However, if the person continues to drink alcohol, other more severe complications may occur.
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: According to experts, this is not due to alcohol intake, although it’s also one of the causes of cirrhosis. This disease replaces healthy liver tissue with scar tissue, which in the medium to long term prevents the organ from functioning properly. Obesity, type II diabetes, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome or syndrome X (hereditary intellectual disability), high triglyceride levels, or losing weight too quickly can be some of the triggers.

Common symptoms of fatty liver disease

As the MSD Manual points out, the particularity of having fatty liver disease is that it doesn’t usually present overly obvious or characteristic symptoms. Therefore, the most common symptoms can easily be confused with other ailments or conditions.

In the event that the disorder progresses, the warning signs are:

  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Liver enlargement and a noticeable increase in abdominal fat.
  • Metabolic syndrome (elevated uric acid, cholesterol, and triglycerides).
  • Sleep apnea (snoring).
  • Fatigue.
  • Weight loss problems.

In addition to these symptoms, other less frequent signs of fatty liver may be: hair loss, acne, warts on the neck and armpits, loss of appetite, nausea, or difficulty concentrating.

Natural remedies to combat Hepatic steatosis

Before starting, it should be said that medical consultation is essential, and only a professional will be able to recommend an appropriate treatment after analyzing the situation of each patient.

On the other hand, in addition to taking advantage of the benefits of home remedies, it’s necessary that the person suffering from this condition make some changes in their daily life. Above all, according to several researchers from the Iranian University of Medical Sciences, these must be done in relation to their diet and any possible excesses that could be causing the problem, such as drinking alcohol.

Hepatic recovery can take time if the patient is not committed and doesn’t give up what puts this organ at risk. Bearing this in mind, the most effective home remedies to accompany these changes and complement the medical treatment are the following.

Fruit that can help combat fatty liver disease

  • Loquat: Its benefits are well-known for different ailments, including fatty liver. This is because, according to a study developed in 2019, it improves liver functions and helps to purify the body. This fruit makes a great dessert.
  • Grapefruit or pomelo: This is good for fatty liver patients due to one of its main components: naringenin, which activates the chemicals responsible for oxidizing fatty acids. Also, according to animal experiments, it serves to reduce body fat and attenuate metabolic syndrome. These are two factors that are often related to this disease.

Vegetables for fatty liver disease

  • Artichokes: Although this vegetable has several benefits for the body, there is still a lack of evidence to confirm its effects on improving liver health. However, what is certain is that it doesn’t have too many calories and helps regulate blood sugar. In general, it’s advisable to consume it at least twice a week in light preparations, cooked or baked.
  • Radishes and beets: According to research developed in 2017, both should be incorporated into the diet because they have antioxidant properties, are nutritious, and provide few calories. Radishes can be consumed raw or grated in salads and beets can be boiled for salads or as a side dish.
  • Chicory: This has been traditionally used to help with digestive ailments. In fact, a popular recipe for its consumption is the following: wash and chop a kilo (about two pounds) of tender chicory root. Then, pass through a blender, place in a saucepan, and add some sugar to taste. Boil until a syrup-like consistency is achieved. Then, keep in a glass bottle with a hermetic seal and drink one teaspoon per day (consult your doctor before making and taking this remedy).

Medicinal plants

  • Milk thistle: This is a plant that, according to several gastroenterologists in the United States, can be used as a natural remedy for fatty liver problems. According to traditional medicine, its dried leaves of milk thistle are helpful for making an infusion that protects and improves its functions. You can consume up to three cups daily, with a tablespoon of milk thistle in each cup.
  • Dandelion: According to research conducted at the University of Rijeka, this helps cleanse the liver and improve liver health. Folk beliefs advise consuming three cups a day of an infusion made with one tablespoon of dandelion per ¼ liter of boiling water.
  • Boldo: Study published by Harvard Health confirmed that this plant serves to protect the liver, thus facilitating recovery from diseases related to this organ. Boldo tea can be consumed after meals because it also helps digestion.
  • Ginger: According to data from research published by the Journal Nutrition and Metabolism, ginger also serves to combat fatty liver, as it contains antioxidants that help reduce triglycerides. It’s advisable to make a tea by crushing two teaspoons of its root in a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for a few minutes and drink before it cools down. It can also be grated in salads.

Treating fatty liver disease in time is key to avoid aggravating the problem

It’s true that a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle are two key factors that are crucial for your health. However, don’t forget that the natural remedies recommended here must be complemented with a prescribed treatment under previous medical approval.

If you have the slightest suspicion of suffering from fatty liver disease, consult a specialist to get an accurate diagnosis. In general, it’s a problem that can be solved if detected early. However, don’t let your guard down.

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