Fatty Liver Disease
What is Fatty Liver Disease?
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (FLD) is the term for a range of conditions caused by a build-up of fat in the liver. It is more common in people who are obese and/or have type 2 diabetes (T2D). Having both FLD and T2D greatly increases a person’s chance of heart trouble. To read more about T2D click here.
If not detected and managed, FLD can lead to serious liver damage. The build-up of fat in the liver cells causes inflammation which can lead to fibrosis or even cirrhosis, where the liver appears scarred, lumpy and shrunken. This damage may become irreversible and lead to liver failure.
If detected and managed at an early stage, it’s possible to stop NAFLD getting worse and reduce the amount of fat in your liver.
Treating Fatty Liver Disease
Questions and Appointments
For any enquiries about conditions, tests or treatments, please feel free to call Dr Rehan Haidry’s medical secretary Debra Hyams.
There are not usually any symptoms of FLD in the early stages and as such it is often diagnosed during tests carried out for another reason. Occasionally, people with more advanced stages of the disease may experience a dull/aching pain under the right ribs, extreme tiredness, unexplained weight loss and weakness, which might lead to referral to a liver specialist.
FLD is formally diagnosed with a blood test called a liver function test (If it produces an abnormal result and other liver conditions, such as hepatitis, are ruled out). The condition may also be detected with an ultrasound scan of the abdomen and for some people a biopsy will be taken via endoscope (where a sample of liver tissue is sent for laboratory analysis).
There is currently no drugs to treat FLD. This means that lifestyle changes in the early stages are really important.
Weight loss is paramount, a person with FLD should aim for a BMI under 25, but weight loss of even just 10% will help remove fat from the liver. 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week can improve FLD and smoking cessation is vital.
People with FLD should remove alcohol, fried foods and high sugar foods (cookies, cakes, fizzy drinks) from their diet completely. It is also recommended to avoid white rice, white bread, white pasta and red meats. These can be ‘diet swapped’ for whole grains like quinoa, legumes like chick peas, oily fish like salmon (a source of unsaturated fat) and replacing meat with soy-based substitutes which studies have shown reduce liver fat.
Once a person develops cirrhosis they may need a liver transplant or it may be possible to have a transplant using a section of liver from a living donor.
There is a T2D procedure which has been shown in clinical studies to improved FLD called Revita® DMR (DMR stands for duodenal mucosal resurfacing).
Revita® is a minimally-invasive procedure for people with T2D. The procedure is performed via endoscopy (where a thin flexible tube is passed down the throat/food pipe) and uses heat to ‘resurface’ the lining of the upper intestine (duodenum).
The therapy revitalises the duodenum and research has shown that this can lead to significant improvements in metabolic disease parameters. In a recent study, Revita® DMR was shown to improve liver insulin sensitivity, reduce blood glucose (a T2D marker) and reduce fat stored in the liver (by over 30%). Patients have seen sustained weight loss and a reduction in daily medication too.
The procedure itself takes about an hour and is performed under sedation in the endoscopy suite. Patients can be discharged after 24 hours and resume every day activities the next day, the most common side effect reported is a bit of a sore throat and a special diet (only water then liquid foods) must be observed after the procedure.
In The News
Dr Rehan Haidry was one of the first doctors to perform the procedure in the UK as a clinical trial investigator. Here he talks about the procedure:
Get In Touch
For any enquiries about conditions, tests or treatments, please feel free to call Dr Rehan Haidry’s medical secretary Debra Hyams on:
Tel: 0203 423 7609 | Email: email@example.com