Hepatocellular carcinoma is the “most common form of liver cancer”, Dr Roderich Schwarz pointed out. The doctor – who has extensive experience treating patients with cancer of the liver – explained further. “We don’t yet know why some patients with fatty liver disease will develop liver cancer while others will not. But we do know that obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and hepatitis can increase the risk that fatty changes in the liver will lead to the development of liver cancer – especially if these conditions develop at a younger age.”
The prevalence of fatty liver disease is becoming more common, Dr Schwarz revealed, so do you have the condition?
“The liver is a central detoxification organ, filtering harmful substances from the blood,” the doctor explained.
Excessive alcohol consumption and the overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – including aspirin and ibuprofen – can reduce liver function and damage liver tissue.
“Any damage to the liver that builds up over time can lead to fatty changes,” the doctor continued.
“And a build-up of fat inside liver cells can potentially lead to inflammation (hepatitis) and scarring (fibrosis).”
Factors that increase your risk of developing fatty liver disease:
- Excessive weight gain
- Physical inactivity
- Uncontrolled blood sugar
- A diet high in sugar and fat.
“Current studies estimate that 75 percent to 90 percent of adults with obesity or diabetes also have a fatty liver,” Dr Schwarz said.
Fatty liver disease is also “common” among patients who have:
- High blood sugar
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- High triglyceride levels.
“Vague” and “non-specific” signs of fatty liver disease include fatigue and right-sided abdominal discomfort.
The warning signs of hepatocellular carcinoma (i.e. liver cancer)
WedMD explained that as the cancerous tumour grows in the liver, you might experience numerous sensations.
For instance, one possible sign of liver cancer is feeling pain in the upper right part of your belly.
Another potential sign could be “a lump or feeling of heaviness” in the same area.
Thus, mild cases of fatty liver disease can be reversed by committing to a healthy, well-balanced diet.
In addition, you’ll need to lose weight (if currently overweight), limit or avoid alcohol, and participate in regular exercise.
“The best defense against any liver problem is a healthy lifestyle,” the doctor emphasised.
If you are at a later stage of fatty liver disease, it’s still important to adhere to a healthy lifestyle to help prevent further health complications.
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