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Fatty Liver Disease & Dietary Interventions Video

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  • 0:02 Fatty Liver Disease
  • 1:12 Risk Factors & Symptoms
  • 2:12 Dietary Interventions
  • 3:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Fatty liver disease is a condition in which there is an accumulation of fats in the liver cells. This condition can result due to abuse of alcohol or dietary factors. Learn about dietary interventions used to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Fatty Liver Disease

It is easy to tell if you're carrying too much body fat, but did you know that your liver can carry too much fat? We don't think of our organs in terms of being fat or thin, but in essence, that is what fatty liver disease is. Fatty liver disease is defined as the accumulation of fats within the liver cells. While it's normal to find some fat in the liver, too much can affect the performance of the liver and increase your risk of liver cancer or liver failure.

According to the American Liver Foundation, fat storage that exceeds 5 to 10% of the liver's total weight produces steatosis, or simply a fatty liver. When we discuss liver disease, many people think of alcohol as the primary culprit. It is true that alcohol is damaging to the liver and abuse of alcohol can lead to a fatty liver; however, in this lesson, we will focus on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD for short, which is excessive fat build up in the liver that is linked to a person's diet, not their alcohol consumption.

Risk Factors & Symptoms

Obesity has been linked to a number of chronic health conditions, and fatty liver disease is no exception. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is more prevalent in people who are obese or have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides. This condition is even trickling down to younger generations, and we see that the condition can be seen in children who are overweight.

However, adults and children with this condition might not be aware of its presence due to the fact that fatty liver disease is typically asymptomatic. If symptoms do appear, they are vague, such as fatigue, weakness, weight loss, nausea and confusion. Because symptoms are hard to detect, the disease can advance for years before it is discovered. A delay in detection of fatty liver disease allows time for permanent liver damage to occur. Over time, the liver enlarges and liver cells get replaced by scar tissue. This is a condition known as cirrhosis.

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