This is a letter I received not a long time ago from David, a 24 years old man, who was diagnosed to have a fatty liver:
2 Months ago I was told I have Fatty Liver Disease. I am 24 years old, I weight at 260 pounds, 5’11” tall. I am over weight and I have more fatty mass than muscle mass. Knowing that I have this disease is draining my mind and creating a lot of stress because I just don’t know how bad I have it.
What makes it more stressful is the fact that I have lost 17 pounds since January of this year and I don’t know how I did it. I read that weight loss is a sign of advancement of the Disease. The only thing I have changed is that I have been eating a healthy breakfast in the morning that includes lots of fruit and no exercise. The other thing that I had done was take synthroid for my thyroid functions. I took the pill for 3 months or so and stopped taking it around January. I am stilling losing weight to this day and it is driving me nuts.
Can you tell me at my age should I be worried about the weight loss as a sign of advancement? I just pray that its not that far along so that I can have a chance to exercise and eat better to turn this disease around. What can I do to see just how bad I really have it. Your prompt response would be greatly enjoyed.
Few hours later I sent him the following answer:
Before I can answer to your questions, I need to know some missing details.
First of all, which type of fatty liver disease do you have? Alcoholic or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease?
Have you performed any abdominal ultrasound test for fatty liver diagnosis?
Second, have you done any liver function blood tests? If so, what were the results? Specifically, the results of liver enzymes ALT and AST.
You are 24 years old; meaning the change the disease isn’t advanced yet. It takes decades for a fatty liver to advance to a much serious liver conditions.
Waiting for your reply.
Dr. Mark Bar-Gomel
I have NAFLD. A ultrasound was preformed on my liver to determine that I have NAFLD. My blood test results were: AST = 82, ALT= 161. Tests were done 12/16/08.
My report produced from the ultrasound is as follows:
FINDINGS: The liver is difficult to penetrate and has a coarsened echotexture.
No hepatic mass or intrahepatic biliary ductal dilatation is seen. The
pancreas appears normal. The gallbladder is normal. Right kidney is normal.
Common bile duct measures 3 mm. No free fluid is seen.
IMPRESSION: The appearance of the liver suggests hepatic steatosis. No focal
hepatic lesion or intrahepatic biliary ductal dilatation is seen.
I hope you can answer my questions with the information given above. With that said, In general what can I eat to help my liver out? I heard lemon juice is okay? Is this true? What else if you have any other ideas.
My answer to him:
From the information you provided, it is my honest though that your condition is reversible. I’m positive your weight loose is not an indication for advanced stage of the disease.
To reverse the condition, it will require from you to change your life style and eating habits.
Regarding lemon juice, the answer is yes. There are some indications that lemon juice is good for a fatty liver. You can also read the foods for fatty liver article that gives a good guideline for what you should eat.