I have been running a support group for Fatty Liver Disease on Facebook since 2008. Do a search on Facebook for Fatty Liver Disease Support Group (NAFLD and NASH).
I have talked to 100’s of patients with the disease. You might think they are all middle age obese people but you would be very wrong. Do not take your health for granted, do not assume you are not at risk for this disease. With the current obesity rates in the world the odds are 1 in 5 that you could have this disease and not even be aware of it. You might be a child, a healthy person, a mother, father, daughter, son, grandmother, grandfather, husband or wife.
Fatty liver disease can be very quiet :
you could be going through your day and feel a pain in the right side of your tummy and easily discount it to a general tummy ache.
You might feel really worn down and need to sleep more often and easily discount that to your busy life.
You might notice you get sick more easily, you go to the drugstore and fill up with supplements, and vitamins.
You might go to the doctor and they will likely think you are just depressed and give you drugs to treat symptoms.
The liver is the hardest working organ in the body. We all abuse it in some way everyday.
Pollution and Chemicals – in the home, in our cleaning liquids, our shampoos, our beauty products, dusts and mold. Car Emissions, factory emissions, pollens, and allergens.
Eating – Processed foods, spicy foods, junk food, fast food, genetically modified foods, chemical replacements for sugars, diet products, caffeinated, low fat, high sodium, high sugars. chemically treated fruits and veggies, and processed meats. Even organic foods are not necessarily organic!
Alcohol – Oh I know this is the general vision of the liver patient. Uncle Joe has been an alcoholic all his life and now he is paying for it because his liver is pickled!
Drugs – Oh I know the drug addicts sharing the needles down around the corner get liver disease due to their lifestyle choices.
Unsafe Sex, tattoos- Pamela Anderson has liver disease due to unsafe sex and tattoos.
Its so very easy to make quick judgements of liver patients, they should have prevented this by not drinking, partying, abusing their bodies so much.
Let me introduce you to a few of the stories I am aware of:
A 12 year old child is immunized for HEP to prepare for a trip overseas, she returns and gets hit with pneumonia and Mono…6 months later she has liver disease. Her 40 mother is obese but she does not have the disease…
A healthy , skinny, strong healthy young man is 30. He is 6 foot 3 and 183 lbs. He is not a drinker, he does not do drugs, he does not have unclean tattoos. He has liver disease. He grew up with a dad who worked for the coca cola company.. Coca cola was always in the house, he drank it like water.
A 52 year old woman is a registered nurse and she goes to the Gym daily. She deals with one patient with a transmittable liver disease and her life changes forever. She warns everyone to stay away from pain killers and be careful what you eat.
A 29 year old man struggles with knee surgeries, radiation, steroids. He was normal weight…then his fatty liver disease started….
A 30 Year old man has frequent migraines, gets diagnosed with a genetic disease that made him prone to liver problems and now he has fatty liver disease.
A 26 year old woman is rushed to hospital due to excessive nausea and diarrhea, she faints in emergency room. They do ultrasound as she has been told she has galbladder issues for the last 4 years. They poke around and finds her liver swollen and causing pain. They review the ultrasound look at her and say your ultrasound has white masses of fat in your liver. This fat should be filtering through your liver. That it is not is very strange. You are not a drinker, you are not over 40, and you are not obese. So it appears you have non alcholic fatty liver disease.
35 year old woman is diagnosed with Nash stage 3 fibrosis brought on by fatty liver disease she is 5 foot 1 and 185 lbs. She is very scared as she watched her mother die from this disease.
a 40 year old woman is mildly obese and finds out not only her but 2 of her children also have fatty liver disease.
A 44 year old woman has undiagnosed Celiac disease and undiagnosed Diabetes. Her Liver finally causes enough trouble that everything gets diagnosed!
What does the liver really do? There are more than 500 functions, here are just a few!
- processing digested food from the intestine
- controlling levels of fats, amino acids and glucose in the blood
- combating infections in the body
- clearing the blood of particles and infections including bacteria
- neutralising and destroying drugs and toxins
- manufacturing bile
- storing iron, vitamins and other essential chemicals
- breaking down food and turning it into energy
- manufacturing, breaking down and regulating numerous hormones including sex hormones
- making enzymes and proteins which are responsible for most chemical reactions in the body, for example those involved in blood clotting and repair of damaged tissues
Your liver is a miracle organ, do not lose hope ever. It does regenerate, in fact its the only organ in the body that can do so. With eating right and exercising, learning how to have fun without alcohol or drugs you can have a full happy life with a liver that will thank you!
Think of your body as an aquarium full of living organisms. Treat the liver as the filter in your tank , a valued member of your team! It does a lot of work and you need to respect it and avoid clogging it.
Please take the time to reflect on Liver patients, no one asks for this disease and they are treated by most of the doctors, and people in the world as being at fault. Please treat them with respect and be thankful its not you or someone you love.