Liver disease: Doctor discusses causes and symptoms
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“Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a chronic condition caused by too much fat being stored inside the liver cells, which is not due to alcohol,” said doctor Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy. While the early stages of this condition are rarely harmful, prilosec what the pill looks like NAFLD could lead to liver failure or cancer if left untreated.
“It is important to note that the majority of people with NAFLD have no symptoms and are unaware they have it,” the doctor noted.
However, one sign that might not generally be recognised is “paper money skin”, she explained.
This sign describes tiny superficial blood vessels on your trunk and face.
These blood vessels or capillaries can be randomly scattered and needle thin.
They resemble a fine network of red and blue silk threads embedded in the United States dollar bill.
This is the reason why the sign received the memorable name. Sometimes they are also called “dollar paper markings”.
This skin sign often points to an underlying liver condition and is considered to be a sign of cirrhosis.
In case you’re not aware, cirrhosis details the “most severe” stage of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
During this stage, your liver shrinks and becomes scarred and lumpy.
The NHS warns that this damage is permanent and can even trigger liver failure or cancer.
However, “paper money skin” isn’t the only telltale sign of this NAFLD stage, other symptoms include:
- Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- Itchy skin
- Swelling in the legs, ankles, feet or tummy (oedema).
The NHS urges seeing a GP if you suffer from any of these symptoms and have a liver condition.
Fortunately, cirrhosis occurs after years of liver inflammation and is preceded by three other stages of NAFLD.
The second and third stages – non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and fibrosis – could also announce themselves with symptoms.
These stages can cause symptoms, including:
- Dull or aching pain in the top right of the tummy (over the lower right side of the ribs)
- Extreme tiredness
- Unexplained weight loss
Luckily, the health service notes that making lifestyle changes can help prevent NAFLD from getting worse.
Doctor Lee said: “Much can be achieved by improving lifestyle factors – eating healthily, taking regular exercise, and reducing alcohol to within recommended limits.
“The Mediterranean diet is recommended. This is a diet full of lean meat, fish, poultry, whole grains, unsaturated plant fats such as olive oil, sunflower oil, or rapeseed oil, and large quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables which are high in antioxidants.
“[Also] make sure you eat plenty of fibre.”
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