There’s a new epidemic sweeping the country. It’s sneaky, silent and potentially lethal. And whether you realize it or not, you may already be a statistic.
I’m talking about non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)—a condition affecting as many as a third of adults in the U.S.
Of course, one big problem is that NAFLD is a largely silent condition—which means a lot of Americans’ livers are suffering in the dark. And once they actually start to notice symptoms (like abdominal swelling, red palms, or jaundice), they’re already flirting with full-blown cirrhosis.
6 red flags for fatty liver disease
The good news is that there are red flags to look for well before it reaches that point. And if any of these risk factors sound familiar, consider it a sign that your liver is likely struggling with fatty liver, too…
1. Out of control cholesterol:
Calories that you eat but don’t burn don’t just turn up as body fat. They also go to the liver for storage—and stay there in the form of triglycerides. And then there’s the possibly even bigger threat of oxidized LDL, or oxLDL, which forms when LDL cholesterol reacts with free radicals.
Once oxidized the LDL becomes far more reactive, and dangerous. And research has found it’s associated with a higher risk of fatty liver disease. So if your levels are haywire, that’s your most reliable indication that fatty liver disease could be right around the corner.
2. A “beer belly”:
Whether you drink or not a beer belly could be a sign you’re at risk. Obesity is a prime risk factor for fatty liver disease. But research presented at the International Liver Congress in 2015 showed that lean people with larger waists—greater than 35 inches for women, or 40 inches for men—face a dramatically higher risk of liver disease, too.
3. You have diabetes:
Diabetes and fatty liver go hand in hand, with each condition raising your risk of the other. And it’s no wonder why. Both share major risk factors, such as obesity and insulin resistance—making them twin epidemics in many ways.
4. You have (PCOS):
Like diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, and fatty liver share a long list of risk factors in common—including insulin resistance and obesity. So it’s no surprise that a recent study found having PCOS doubles your risk of liver disease.
5. You have sleep apnea:
You’ve probably heard of sleep apnea before. It’s a condition, which causes you to stop breathing for short periods throughout the night. This chronic nighttime lack of oxygen contributes to insulin resistance, those haywire cholesterol levels I mentioned earlier and the disruption of beneficial bacteria (your microbiome). And research shows it paves the way to fatty liver disease, too.
6. A sluggish thyroid:
Some studies have found hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) may be an independent risk factor for NAFLD. But whether the association holds or not, it’s clear that fatty liver is prevalent among folks with thyroid problems.
If you found yourself nodding your head yes to one or all of these signs, there’s a very good chance that your liver is overburdened. But that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause.
In fact, “slimming down” fatty liver can be as simple as one, two, three—literally.
- ONE – Stop drinking—sugary drinks that is. Alcoholism isn’t the only “drinking problem” that puts your liver in peril. Research shows that addiction to sugar-sweetened beverages is just as dangerous—with one daily serving raising your risk of fatty liver by an astounding 61 percent.
- TWO – Kick carbs to the curb. One recent study showed that boosting protein and restricting carbs (but not calories) can send liver fat levels plummeting within just two weeks.
- THREE – Go Mediterranean. Other research shows that following a Mediterranean diet—rich in fish, fresh fruits and veggies, and healthy fats from nuts and olive oil—reduces risk of NAFLD by more than a quarter.
If your liver is crying out for help, don’t let it fall on deaf ears. Keep your eyes open for these six red flags. And if you suspect your liver is struggling with fatty liver disease, fight back with the ONE, TWO, THREE liver support solution.