The term ‘fatty liver’, is frequently associated with people with high alcohol intake. However, people that suffer from a fatty liver don’t necessarily, get the disease from alcohol abuse. The disease (NAFLD) is characterized by too much fat stored in liver cells. This is simply caused by an unhealthy lifestyle lead by low physical activity, bad eating habits or even genetic predisposition.
Despite being a very common disease affecting an estimated 80 to 100 million worldwide, especially on the Western side of the world, no treatment has been made to tackle the disease.
The problematic part about the disease is, that NAFLD can lead to several other complications including; type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.
Professor Norbert Stefan and Professor Hans-Ulrich Häring from Tübingen University Hospital have evaluated the most important data from the NAFLD research in order to find possible treatments and new diagnostic approaches to help with the prognosis for the possibility of secondary diseases.
For instance, in the case where someone suffers from type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance, fatty liver screening should be recommended. In this situation endocrinologists, radiologists or hepatologists should perform an MRI and/or other examinations.
But how can NAFLD be cured?
Firstly, it is very important to reduce the fat consumption in order to prevent possible liver inflammation and fibrosis. Lowering BMI thanks to a lifestyle intervention can already reduce the fat content to a good percentage.
According to the American Physiological Society. « More protein after weight loss may reduce fatty liver disease: Increased protein during weight maintenance also reduces risk of type 2 diabetes. »
If weight loss can’t be achieved traditionally, pharmaceutical treatments recommended by a physician should be considered. Although, there is no drug for NAFLD itself, there are other treatments that have effects on liver fat content, inflammation and fibrosis.
The two professors from the Tübingen University Hospital believe that in the future, a personalized drug will be developed that will be able to treat NAFLD.