Fatty liver disease isn’t just one condition. Instead, it is a term used to describe a variety of liver conditions. There are two main kinds: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol. It occurs when too much fat builds up in the cells of the liver. It is the most common kind of liver disease and affects between 80 and 100 million people. Although it is typically diagnosed when people are between 40 and 60 years of age, it can occur at any time in a person’s life. Recognizing the symptoms can help you to identify a potential problem in your aging relative.
Risk Factors for NAFLD
There’s no known cause for fat collecting in the livers of some people and not others. Doctors are also uncertain why the accumulation of fat sometimes leads to inflammation and scarring, but sometimes doesn’t. NAFLD is more likely to occur in people who:
• Are overweight or obese.
• Have insulin resistant cells.
• Have high blood sugar.
• Have high triglycerides.
There are also many conditions that can increase the chances of getting NAFLD, such as:
• Sleep apnea.
• Type 2 diabetes.
• High cholesterol.
• Metabolic syndrome.
• Underactive pituitary gland.
Symptoms of NAFLD
Typically, there are no noticeable signs of NAFLD. However, if symptoms do appear, your aging relative may experience:
• An enlarged liver.
• Pain in the upper right part of their abdomen.
Some forms of NAFLD can cause the following symptoms when scarring is present:
• Swelling in the abdomen.
• Larger than normal blood vessels just below the surface of the skin.
• Swelling in the spleen.
• Palms of the hands that look red.
Preventing the disease in your older family member involves making the same healthy lifestyle choices that can prevent many other diseases. Some things they can do are:
• Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
• Remain physically active, aiming for about 150 minutes of exercise per week.
Senior care can help your aging relative to prevent NAFLD. A senior care provider can prepare balanced meals and snacks that use healthy ingredients. Senior care providers can also encourage more physical activity in older adults by involving them in activities at home, going for walks with them, or driving them to an exercise class or facility. Senior care providers can also offer support during weight loss and help your aging relative to celebrate their successes.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care in Keyport, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Lares Home Care 888-492-3538 or 732-566-1112.