A comprehensive international review has suggested the use of new diagnostic and therapeutic methods to enable a targeted risk prognosis for suspected secondary diseases linked to the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which encompasses a broader spectrum of liver diseases and affect more than just the liver.
NAFLD is a multifaceted and complex illness that can cause some complications, such as severe liver damage, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular complications.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases can be effectively treated if diagnosed early
“In order to avoid these secondary diseases, the fatty liver must be diagnosed early, and the particular risk for liver, heart and other organ diseases must be accurately assessed. Then you can develop personalized prevention and treatment,” said Norbert Stefan, a German expert in Nutritional Biochemistry, Nutrition and Dietetics, Diabetology, and the study’s leading author.
The researchers recommend screening for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in people with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.
To pinpoint the fat level in the liver and accurately assess liver damage, such as swelling and fibrosis, they encourage the use of standard indices or ultrasound tests in early care. Then, the specialists such as hepatologists, endocrinologists and radiologists would be able to conduct further investigations, including specific magnetic resonance imaging when required.
A healthy lifestyle can tackle the effects of the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Moreover, they recall that people with the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can also benefit from a healthy lifestyle. For instance, a decrease of approximately five percent in body weight can lower the fat content in the liver by up to 30 percent.
Recent investigations hint that hereditary NAFLD is also linked to an elevated risk of liver fibrosis and liver cancer.
“Unexpectedly, the same patients have a low risk of cardiovascular disease. To treat affected patients properly, it is important to know if a fatty liver is genetically determined,” concluded Norbert Stefan.