First: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is also known as NAFLD and Second: Non-alcoholic steatohepatis (NASH) in hopes that I might inspire you to take control of your health.
Why? Well, it’s personal to me.
In 2007, I was diagnosed with NAFLD by my internist who was a real battleaxe.
She was all about whipping her patients into shape—or at least scaring them to death—to the point where they’ve got to face the grim reality of their health… meaning she was damn good at getting us to snap out of denial and wake up to the consequences of the lifestyle choices we’d made.
You may have read one of my earlier posts on the subject? I lost 55 pounds because I was obese and was heading towards disaster; I was in a major health crisis!
But maybe like you, I was stunned because (other than being “heavy,” a polite term I used when I was in denial that I was indeed FAT!) I didn’t really feel bad. I thought I was pretty normal. I was a big girl. So what, right? Uh, no.
Got your attention?
Fatty liver disease is actually an overarching classification with subsets of other illnesses that can occur according to a variety of variables.
NASH and NAFLD are two subsets, but NASH is more an evil cousin of NAFLD, because it’s more aggressive.
And the thing is, that IF both of these are diagnosed early and you…
- talk with your doctor
- lose at least 10% of your body weight
- avoid alcohol, sodium, and fats in your diet
- exercise regularly
…there’s a mighty fine chance that you can significantly slow the progression of the disease. If you have NAFLD, you may even reverse your fatty liver.
Think it’s not a problem? Guess again. Here’s why.
Out of every 100 people, approximately 7-15 people will develop cirrhosis of the liver—that’s nearly 15%. We’re talking organ transplants—IF you’re lucky enough to be matched after being on a long waiting list. Don’t risk it.
But let’s just say that your liver hasn’t deteriorated yet. Uh, maybe your doctor told you that you’ve got it but you can improve your prognosis if you: eat healthy, lose weight, and exercise more.
Maybe you’re not too worried because you are in no way obese like you see on My 600 Pound Life, so you “don’t wurryaboutit.” And maybe, like most Americans (that’s 60% of our entire population) who are overweight, you think you’ll be fine because after all, you feel okay.
So you go a few years longer and don’t make permanent changes – you lose 5-10 pounds but you manage to gain it aaalllllll back. Then you go on another diet and the cycle of frustration continues because you keep gaining weight.
But eventually, other symptoms, conditions develop…
- Type ll diabetes
- PCOS: Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Metabolic syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Colon polyps
Scared out of my denial, I totally changed my diet and lifestyle but I made them gradually:
- Started walking 15 minutes a day, slowly increasing to 30-45 minutes, six days a week
- Drank 8 glasses of water a day
- Low sodium diet–this was the hardest thing for me
- Stopped eating all animals except occasional fish and seafood (grilled or broiled salmon was my go-to protein choice for a year)
- Ate 5-6 services of fresh vegetables and fruits
- Rarely eat white bread, little nutritional value–but do eat whole grain bread sparingly as it is typically high in sodium
- 2 servings of beans, an excellent source of fiber and protein and, when eaten with a whole grain, is a complete protein
- Although I limited myself to 1 slice of Swiss cheese a day and consumed limited olive oil, I stopped this totally. Today: No butter. No cheese. No dairy. Rarely use oil
- Whole grains, nuts, seeds
- (1) 4-5 oz of red wine with dinner on the weekend, but it’s best to completely avoid (talk with your doctor)
But please remember. That’s just what worked for me. I’m not a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor to determine what’s best for you–then stick with it!
And back to the video, it’s interesting because it’s got snippets of people (whom I’m guessing aren’t paid actors) talking about their experiences with NASH and NAFLD.
There are other videos that feature doctors discussing these conditions and the importance of getting healthy. Permanently. But what I REALLY think they need—our community needs—is MORE people talking about their SUCCESS stories of getting and staying healthy.