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Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: Are you at risk? 

Learn more about nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a growing global epidemic. More than one billion people have the condition and it’s risen dramatically with each decade. Experts believe the prevalence of the disease could increase by 50 percent by the year 2030.

Chances are you’ve never heard of the condition, but you may have it and not even know. There’s no pill yet to stop it and left untreated, it can develop into nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the leading liver disease in the world and on track to become the leading cause of liver transplants.

NAFLD is not tied to alcohol, but primarily to obesity, inactivity and poor lifestyle choices. The early stages are quite treatable and reversible. However, once your liver gets too damaged, it becomes a more dire condition.

Experts are clamoring to answer two primary unknowns: Why do some people get the disease and who is more likely to have it progress to the latter stages?

Here’s how to figure out if this is something you should be concerned about:

Risk factors:

Age — This disease does not blow through your system like a hurricane, rather it grows like a tree. Therefore, age is an important factor in how likely you are to have it progress. That’s why the condition is so concerning in overweight and obese children who have many years to “grow” the tree with a steady diet of sugar and processed food coupled with inactivity.

The longer you have the condition, the more likely it is you may need to be put on a liver transplant list.

Ethnicity — Asian and Hispanic populations tend to get hit the hardest. Some experts believe that in addition to genetic variant factors, triglyceride levels and distribution of fat also play a role in these populations.

Genes — You may be able to partially blame your genes for the development and progression of NAFLD. Studies show a gene called PNPLA3 may play a role.

Your mom’s diet — That’s right: What your mom ate when she carried you could have an impact on your risk of developing a diseased liver. A new animal study found exposure to a high-fat diet in the womb, as well as soon after birth, increased the risk of a more rapid and serious development of the disease later in life. The study found a mom’s high-fat diet actually produced changes in the liver of the fetus that lasted well beyond birth.

Where you store fat — People with apple-shaped figures — who store fat in the central area of the body — are more likely to develop this type of fatty liver disease than those with pear-shaped figures who store fat in the thighs and buttocks.

Gender — Women tend to have a higher incidence of liver disease and are more likely to suffer cardiovascular complications due to the presence of a fatty liver.

Read full article: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: Are you at risk? – TODAY.com

Read Full Article: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: Are you at risk? – TODAY.com

The health and medical information on our website is not intended to take the place of advice or treatment from health care professionals. It is also not intended to substitute for the users’ relationships with their own health care/pharmaceutical providers.

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