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The Three Best Defense Against Obesity-Related Liver Disease
The impact of obesity on vital organs can be devastating, especially on the liver, causing insulin resistance that leads to buildup of blood sugar and increases the amount of free fatty acids circulating in the blood and inside the liver cells. This buildup of fat is very common in those with Type 2 diabetes, and increases the risk of liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver cancer and death.
It also leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which affects roughly 100 million Americans and costs the United States healthcare system $32 billion annually. This is especially alarming given that the obesity rate reached 42.4% in 2017-2018 – surpassing 40% for the first time.
Lifestyle modification, including diet and exercise followed simultaneously, have been shown to reverse NAFLD and NASH, and in some cases, reverse the development of fibrosis. In fact, a weight reduction of 3% can reverse liver fat in 35% of patients and a reduction of 10% or more can regress fibrosis in nearly half of patients studied.
Data suggest mild to moderate activity, such as walking, can reduce liver fat, irrespective of diet. Various regimens of aerobic and resistance training have been shown to reduce hepatic fat content through improvements in insulin resistance, liver fatty acid metabolism, liver mitochondrial function and activation of inflammatory cascades.
FibroScan®, a rapid, non-invasive and painless exam, offers quick insight into liver health to quantitatively estimate liver fat content and liver stiffness. This is the only tool readily available and affordable to monitor fatty liver disease and is especially useful for giving feedback to patients regarding their efforts with diet and exercise."
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