You have likely been warned about type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease as some of the conditions caused by obesity. Include a fatty liver!
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common severe liver disease from which Americans suffer, and is the most prevalent liver disease among children. An estimated 1.6 million children are affected, according to Children's Memorial Hospital's Web site. But, most of them probably don't realize they are ill.
Fatty liver is "typically associated with abnormal depositing of fat in liver cells," said Dr. Joshua Prozialeck, a fellow in pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at Children's Memorial Hospital.
The liver serves a number of functions in the body. Its main purpose is to filter nutrients absorbed by the small intestine; making chemicals the body needs and expelling the harmful ones. Additionally, bile secreted by the liver helps the body digest fat.
Left untreated, fatty liver disease can lead to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a fatty liver that is also inflamed and scarred-and at risk for cirrhosis.
There is no drug to treat fatty liver disease. "The most effective, safe way we know to have a positive impact on [fatty liver] is WEIGHT LOSS, according to Dr. Mary Rinella, an assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. "The key is prevention."
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