(KUTV) When you think about how being overweight or obese can affect your health, liver disease likely isn’t at the top of the list. However, for a rapidly growing number of Americans, this is exactly what’s happening and it’s called fatty liver disease.
Several years ago, a routine surgery revealed Wayne Eskridge’s liver was heading towards failure.
“There’s a point of no return where cirrhosis, the only thing you can do is transplant,” says Wayne.
Wayne was overweight and his liver was in such bad shape because of Fatty Liver Disease. Fatty Liver Disease is as it sounds, an increase in fat content within the liver. When there’s fat in the liver, you’re predisposed to getting diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and having a stroke.
“Why I worry about it is because it usually means you’re predisposed to getting cirrhosis, and it’s the most common cause of cirrhosis that we are seeing today,” says Dr. Richard Gilroy, medical director of liver transplantation at Intermountain Medical Center.
If caught early, lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. First, making adjustments to your diet. Dr. Gilroy recommends the Mediterranean Diet as a base for those with Fatty Liver Disease. Next, participate in some type of exercise, daily. Finally, drink coffee.
“It lessens the likelihood of you having a stroke, lessens the likelihood of you having a heart attack, and lessens the likelihood of you dying. And, lessens liver disease,” says Dr. Gilroy.
After following this prescription for a year, Wayne lost 50 pounds and has improved the health of his liver.
“If you can get the weight off, that changes the chemistry of the liver and it allows it to have a chance to recover,” says Wayne.
Dr. Gilroy hopes Wayne’s story is a message to all Americans that NOW is the time to make healthy lifestyle changes.
“In the U.S. population there’s probably 3-million people heading that way really soon; and we don’t do 3-million transplants a year. We do 7,500,” says Dr. Gilroy.