Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterised a build-up of fat in the liver. As the name suggests, the fatty build-up is not caused by alcohol intake. Rather, it is linked to chronic disease markers, such as obesity. The condition is highly pernicious because symptoms do not usually surface in the beginning.
In fact, as the PearTree Medical Centre explains, symptoms may not spring up until NAFLD has progressed to cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis is the most severe stage of NAFLD, occurring after years of inflammation, where the liver shrinks and becomes scarred and lumpy, the health body explains.
"This damage is permanent and can lead to liver failure (where your liver stops working properly) and liver cancer," it warns.
Signs of cirrhosis include:Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit LawyerYellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice) Itchy skin Swelling in the legs, ankles, feet or tummy (oedema).
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Fatty liver disease symptoms: Yellowing and itching of the skin may signal irreversible liver damage (Image: Getty Images)
It can take years for fibrosis or cirrhosis to develop so it is imperative to take steps to stop the condition progressing to this stage.
If you have NAFLD, you can make lifestyle changes to help stop it getting worse.
One of the most important countermeasures is to lose any excess weight.
Bupa explains: "This can reverse some of the build-up of fat and even some of the fibrosis in your liver."
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