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The liver has a big job, and Americans’ tendency to eat too much sugar, salt and fat doesn’t make it any easier. When excess fat deposits in the liver cells, it’s called fatty liver disease. In someone with no history of alcohol abuse, it’s called non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Most people have some fat in their liver, which is harmless. In fact, it often shows no symptoms and is typically diagnosed when a routine blood test shows elevated liver enzymes. But when increased fat deposits cause inflammation or cirrhosis, that can lead to permanent damage. Rita Lepe, M.D., a hepatologist (liver specialist) on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, helps outline the major risk factors:
There’s no standard treatment for NAFLD, instead physicians typically help patients manage their risk factors. The American Liver Foundation recommends these steps to help prevent or reverse liver damage:
For a referral to a liver specialist on the medical staff at Baylor Dallas, click here.
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