Mayday is a radio communications term many use worldwide that signals you’re in distress and need help. Did you know your body has built-in “distress” signals that tell you when you’re in pain, sick, and even in danger? With some medical conditions like liver disease, there are typically no obvious symptoms to alert you to seek treatment. Is your liver sending you a mayday? If you know what to look for, the clues may be right in front of you.
Slow, Progressive Liver Destruction
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is America’s most common type of liver disease. NAFLD is an umbrella term for a group of conditions that promote excess fat accumulation in the liver in individuals that drink little to no alcohol. Most patients develop a fatty liver (steatosis), while up to one-third advance to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). With NASH, the excess fat in the liver signals the immune system for help. The healing process is meant to be temporary. However, if the fat accumulation isn’t stopped or reduced, the body will continue to try and repair the liver because it hasn’t been told to stop.
Over time, chronic inflammation begins a slow and progressive destruction of the liver. The liver is strong and resilient with regeneration capabilities. In the early stages of NASH, the liver does its best to keep pace with repairing the damage while maintaining most of its essential functions. It’s a dangerous cycle that goes on for years until the non-functioning scar tissue outnumbers the healthy liver cells (cirrhosis). Unable to function properly, life-threatening complications like liver cancer and liver failure ensue.
Warning Signs and Risk Factors
NASH’s early warning signs are often dismissed because they are common in many other conditions or chalked up to getting older or chronic stress. Therefore, understanding the risk factors for NASH is crucial for early intervention. In the U.S., unhealthy lifestyles from diets high in fat and sugar and lack of physical activity are the top factors that lead to more fat than our bodies can use. Extra fat is stored in the liver and continues to accumulate and increase our susceptibility to NASH risk factors, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
At first, individuals may experience symptoms of:
- Discomfort in the upper right abdomen
In the later stages, symptoms include:
- You may bleed or bruise easily
- Fluid buildup in your legs and abdomen
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes
- Itchy skin
- Toxins may build up in your brain, causing problems with:
Quick, Easy, Painless Way to Evaluate Liver Health
Endeavor Clinical Trials offers FREE fibroscans to adults at risk of developing liver disease. Fibroscan is a safe, effective, and painless way to evaluate the status of the liver; FAST! Fibroscans use ultrasound technology to detect fatty liver and scarring. If your results indicate you have a fatty liver, our research team will offer more information on upcoming clinical studies that may help.
Submit your info online, or contact us at (210) 949-0807 to learn more!