SOS for the liver
One consequence can be the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which includes a spectrum of liver diseases. NAFLD can be associated with type 2 diabetes, lipometabolic disorders and generally high levels of body fat. But metabolically healthy normal-weight people are also affected. The combination of low muscle mass and high abdominal fat is usually a risk factor. The patients appear slim from the outside and the body mass index (BMI) is below 25, which is within the range of normal weight. However, the BMI does not take into account the ratio of fat and fat-free mass or muscle mass. But this is exactly the problem of many apparently slim fatty liver patients. A sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity, coupled with a high-carbohydrate diet, leads to a dangerous redistribution of body mass without necessarily causing obesity.
The body stores excess fat in the liver cells. The hepatocytes inflate as a result, and in severe cases the liver swells to twice its volume. Unlike other organs, however, the diseased liver usually causes few problems. Occasionally, there is a pain of tension in the right upper abdomen, but a typical clinical picture usually only appears when irreversible damage has already occurred. Increased liver values can give the doctor clues to the disease, but a fatty liver is often an incidental finding during an ultrasound examination. The doctor can determine how advanced the disease is by taking a biopsy. Factors such as alcohol abuse, hepatotoxic medication or relevant previous illnesses should be clarified in the medical history.
Fatty liver in itself is not yet a health problem. However, the liver is damaged at the latest when the organ becomes inflamed (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, NASH). Experts estimate that about 10 percent of people with NAFLD also develop steatohepatitis. This inflammation rapidly progresses the disease. Liver cells continually die and fibrous scar tissue forms. The initially swollen organ shrinks and the liver cells lose their function. Finally, cirrhosis will result. This stage is irreversible and increases the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, liver cancer can also occur in NASH without cirrhosis having developed first. Fatty liver is therefore not to be taken lightly. The good news is that it can completely disappear if treated early and consistently.
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Making the right choice
Aus der Serie »English Lesson«: When the first pimples appear on the face at the onset of puberty, it is not yet a dramatic event. But it’s a different story when acne develops. A nightmare for teenagers. Self-medication is only possible and sensible for mild forms.
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Menarche to menopause
Self-medication for women’s complaints
Aus der Serie »English Lesson«: The menopause badly affects about one third of women. It is then necessary to alleviate the discomfort. There are several ways to do this.
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Skin Care against scratching
Aus der Serie »English Lessons«: Certain parts of the body are particularly prone to dry, rough skin: elbows, knees and feet. Dryness is also usually the cause of itchy skin in elderly people.