Discovering that it led steadily from fatty liver to fibrosis to cirrhosis and then to liver failure, a possible transplant or potential liver cancer?
Or was it the unexpected – and shocking – realization that, in fact, there’s no medical cure for fatty liver disease?
I worried constantly about how bad my fatty liver might become. How it might slowly progress into something far more serious.
Because whatever caused my fatty liver was only going to make it worse if I didn’t do something about it.
Of all the memories I have about non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) two stand out most clearly:
I have to admit, the journey between having NAFLD and no longer having NAFLD wasn’t an overnight one.
And, a couple of times, I was worried sick about what the condition might turn in to. Because as I quickly learnt, it often doesn’t just remain as it is. If you don’t address it quickly it can lead to far worse – and potentially deadly – conditions.
When I eventually found out about it, well… That made all the difference, not only to my liver health but also to everything else.
Now my liver is fat-free – and it’s going to stay that way. Although when I first went to my doctor I didn’t realize this at all.
I thought anaemia or something similar might be the cause for my tiredness. The truth turned out to be considerably more concerning.
My doctor told me she suspected I had fatty liver disease. I was sent for tests and, a long story cut short, the ultrasound confirmed it. I had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. And everything that was likely to go with it.
I’d gone to the doctor feeling tired. I came out with a serious disease. However, the bad news kept coming…
Your liver is one of the body’s unsung heroes. The work it does is essential to our very existence. It transforms food into usable nutrients, stores these nutrients, and provides them to cells as and when they’re needed.
It also neutralizes toxins – ‘toxins’ is a medical term for ‘poisons’ – either by converting them into harmless substances, or by making sure they are eliminated directly from the body.
24 hours a day our liver takes in unclean blood, filters it, refreshes it and then releases clean blood back into your body. We never think about our liver. Thankfully, our liver is always thinking about us.
You can’t go to the supermarket for some fresh stuff. If our livers are struggling to do what they are there to do… then those toxins start to build up
So if you suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease you have my deepest sympathy. Because that’s exactly what is happening to you.
It’s what I went through too: a liver becoming steadily more fatty… its ability to keep me healthy becoming steadily more difficult.
Fatty liver doesn’t just get better on its own. Much more worryingly, if we don’t address it there’s every chance that it just carries on getting worse.
And when I say it gets worse I mean it gets really, seriously worse. You know what I’m referring to, don’t you?
a build-up of excess fat in the liver that, initially, can be relatively harmless – but only if it stays like this. But if you don’t address the problem… it has little reason to stay harmless.
A more serious form of fatty liver where there is inflammation in the liver. This is caused by not properly addressing your fatty liver when it first started being fatty.
Ongoing scarring of the liver has caused it to shrink and become lumpy. The damage is permanent, irreversible and can will lead to liver failure and liver cancer.
What’s really happening is that as a sufferer of fatty liver you’re moving through this disease, slowly transitioning from one stage… to a worse one.
In other words, the disease we’ve currently got is only today’s snapshot of a process that’s underway in our bodies. It’s the disease we could end up with that’s the real cause for alarm.
And this isn’t an exaggeration. Liver disease is taking an increasingly worsening toll on our society. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of deaths caused by liver disease and cirrhosis has risen every year since 2007.
Worse, fatty liver is associated with an increased risk of other serious health problems – including kidney disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
So I suddenly found myself with a disease that is now among the top 15 causes of deaths for Americans.
When I first saw all this I panicked a bit. I felt this was starting to look like some sort of death sentence. LIke I was on a conveyor belt being carried to a horrible future.
And I’d see who the best surgeons were if, goodness forbid, things went really bad and, perhaps, I’d need surgery to trim off the fat.
My doctor looked quite grim when she told me that the only safe way to reduce the fat in my liver was to change my lifestyle.
I couldn’t accept that. There’s a pill for everything – if only to relieve some of the symptoms.
Scientists are still trying to work out what such excessive doses are likely to do to the rest of your body.
Even worse, vitamin E isn’t tackling the cause of your fatty liver, only its symptoms. So if it is effective at all it only last while you’re basically over-dosing on it.
Or I could just let it progress – and so work its way through the 4 stages I just described. With a possible terminal condition at the end of it.
I went online to nail this down this healthy eating business – and I found such contradictory…