Fatty Liver – Over 80% of Americans Over 12 have it or Early Signs

This problem is so prevalent Americans should assume they have to some degree. How much you have and how long will one ignore it as it progresses is a better question.

It’s called Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease or NAFLD.

In most cases, the progression of fatty liver can be stopped, improved, and in many cases, reversed to a normal state and healed from there.

NAFLD occurs from the build-up of triglycerides in the liver itself of at least 5% of the liver weight above average and can develop in less than two weeks in some populations. (1)

If you want to know if you are one of the 80% in the US or the 25% of the world’s population with NAFLD, this will help: (2)

If you are going up and down in weight multiple times, can’t lose weight when you try like you used to, or know you have not followed a healthy eating model, you qualify. 

You don’t have to be overweight to have early or advanced fatty liver. The term in metabolic health research is Metabolically Obese at Normal Weight or MONW. (Ref. B)

75% of the overweight and 90% of the obese population, approximately 60% of people with T2DM have NAFLD and have a 2.5-fold higher risk of death due to chronic liver disease than non-diabetics. (3, 4, 5, 6)

You can detect the signs of fatty liver through liver enzyme tests and see fatty liver on ultrasound and other advanced imaging.

NAFLD is strongly associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia and is known as the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome. (7, 8, 9, 10)

Here are the insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome markers:

  • Women = Waistline 35 in or more
  • Men = Waistline 40 in or more
  • Triglycerides over 150
  • Low HDL (40 for men, 50 for women)
  • High Fasting Blood Glucose (over 100)
  • Elevated blood pressure (130 over 85)

(Ref. A)

It’s not just a problem for the United States. NAFLD is growing so fast around the world and faster in the US that it is estimated to replace viral hepatitis leading to end-stage liver disease (45.8% were reported to be caused by NAFLD)(11) and liver transplantation by 2023. (12)

No medical treatment or therapy has been shown to reverse this process, but many non-medical options have snd sre helping people with NAFLD right now. I have worked with thousands in large population health research cohorts and hundreds in group and one on one programs for type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, metabolic syndrome, and fatty liver. 

I designed and ran a diabetes prevention program based on my approach that challenged and beat the national diabetes prevention program in every metric. I know it can be done, and there are many ways to improve NAFL, but I also know the critical elements required to reverse and heal it. 

It takes a multifactor, integrated lifestyle change involving what you eat, when, how, and how you move, think, and sleep. If it sounds like a lot, that’s because it is, but when structured well, it’s easier than you think.

Even in medicine, lifestyle modification is currently accepted as the first line of treatment for managing NAFLD, and weight loss is the only confirmed effective therapy for treating NAFLD (13). 

I will follow up after this post with a breakdown of the different diets, workout styles, and other lifestyle strategies that have been shown to help NAFLD. More importantly, I will review how people have successfully combined these options to improve, reduce, and reverse NAFLD.

For now, you need to know that preventing, improving, reversing, and healing a fatty liver will take making changes, following a specific plan, and sticking with it long enough to meet your goals. 

If you are unwilling to upgrade your lifestyle and do the work, you will not change this problem or stop it from worsening. And, not for nothing, that unwillingness to hold a higher health standard is likely what got you here. Do things differently this time.

As always, if you want or need a structured program, please message me directly to see if my program fits you.

We can do better!

Dr. Don 


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