Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) - Practical advices and prevention

A common approach for the treatment of NAFLD is certainly a change of lifestyle.


Practical advices and prevention

NAFLD is an asymptomatic pathology, therefore getting the wake-up calls is not easy. The diagnosis is often carried out by chance, maybe after years, so that the fat keeps building up to the extent of damaging the liver. The first signals that can alert us concern the altered figures of blood tests (increase in transaminases) or palpation, during a medical examination, when the doctor could detect a slightly bloated liver.

Therefore the importance of an early detection in patients affected by NAFLD, their general frameworking and a prompt personalised therapeutic intervention e/o monitoring turns out to be evident. These are essential proceedings for the cure and optimal prevention of such individuals. The most common approach for the cure of NAFLD is definetely a change in lifestyle: diet, physical activity and/or the treatment of concomitant pathologies. As dietary recommendations are concerned, in principle, the advices on gradually losing weight should be prominent, because a fast weight loss causes an increase of steatosis.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is diagnosing the metabolic syndrome the same as diagnosing the NAFLD?
    No. Diagnosing the metabolic syndrome can be a useful device to pledge the NAFLD diagnosis. Through the analysis to quantify glycaemia, triglyceride and cholesterol we can define the presence of the syndrome and, as a consequence, of NAFLD. But NAFLD can also be present with only one of the required factors for the syndrome diagnosis (for instance, even just an elevated triglyceride rate can outline NAFLD).
  2. Can those who suffer from metabolic syndrome consider themselves to be safe from NAFLD?
    No. Even those who are affected by the metabolic syndrome can have a factor that negatively influences the clinical picture of a patient. If an individual is affected by the virus of Hepatitis C and also has high levels of triglyceride, she/he is more likely to be suffering from NAFLD. Or even a moderate alcohol consumer, with diabetes, can be at risk of developing NAFLD. Several factors which don't include the metabolic syndrome can come into play but, when combined with each another, they can lead to the occurrence of NAFLD anyway.
  3. Who is the patient that more frequently suffers from NAFLD and runs the risk of developing steatohepatitis?
    The patient who is more at risk is ≥ 45 years old, with poor dietary habits, sedentary life, overweight, diabetes, high bad cholesterol (LDL) and a low good one (HDL), hypertension and Hepatitis C. Also considering the three factors in bold font, it's going to be a patient with metabolic syndrome.
  4. What other patients' profiles can be affected by NAFLD?
    • The elderly with a reduced capacity of getting rid of fat from the liver, therefore with reduced hepatic functioning and high blood pressure can be at risk.
    • Menopausal women with high levels of cholesterol and triglyceride, and a sedentary lifestyle.
    • Men and women taking various medicines for different pathologies definetely have a reduced hepatic functioning, and this is associated with any other factor like, for instance, high blood pressure or triglyceride or cholesterol, or moderate alcohol drinkers.

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