Tag Archives: weight loss
31 Days of Wellness: Starting 2016 on the Right Step

31 Days of Wellness: Starting 2016 on the Right Step

Each January, I do my best to post 30 daily entries, allowing all of our readers to get a daily dose of inspiration to start off the new

year. While the vast majority of New Years resolutions are “health related”, the majority fail by months end. The reason for this high failure rate is simple-people don’t change habits easily. These resolutions require some sort of change in a person’s daily routine. Weight loss, eating better, spending more time exercising, cutting back on alcohol use are common themes each year, yet the difficulty in changing entrenched behaviors is what makes all of this so hard. So why should we even talk about this? My feeling is that while the failure rate is high, there are those that are able to make the changes needed to improve their health. I remain optimistic that there are those of you that have finally seen the light, and make the bold steps to change for the right reasons.

For today, let me leave you with this message (and challenge):

IMG_4379Make plans to try one new vegetable each week. Pretty simple. With the vegetable you select, try various recipes until you find one you like. Get feedback from your family and those you eat with. You may have to experiment until you get it right.

One of my favorite websites for learning about vegetables and fruits is Worlds Healthiest Foods. Use this site as a starting point to fine new foods to try.

 

Happy 2016.

Let me know what you think. Share these daily entries with those you care about.

Cheers,

Joe Galati, M.D.

 

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Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: What You Need to Know? Dr. Rashid Khan Explains

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: What You Need to Know? Dr. Rashid Khan Explains

Dr. Rashid Khan, Hepatologist at Liver Specialists of Texas, guest edited this blog entry on Fatty Liver Disease.


Obesity and Fatty Liver Disease

Obesity and Fatty Liver

In my 9 years of medical practice, it still does not cease to amaze me, that the public as well as the general physician’s perspective on fatty liver disease could be so wrong.

Every day of the week I see at least 10 patients with fatty liver, who have been told by their family physician that fatty liver is “no big deal”, and it is nothing to worry about. I tell them it is “ absolutely something to worry about”. Let me explain why.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition where there is fat accumulation in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol.This condition is very common and generally causes no signs or symptoms, and generally no complications. Most people feel “OK” with this condition.

A wide range of diseases and conditions can increase your risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, including: gastric bypass surgery, high cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides in the blood, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, sleep apnea, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and of course, obesity.

In some people with fatty liver, the fat that accumulates can cause inflammation and scarring in the liver. This form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, commonly called NASH. In its most severe form, fatty liver can progress to liver cirrhosis (scarring), liver failure, and even liver cancer. About 20% of patients with fatty liver disease related steatohepatitis can progress to liver cirrhosis, so the risk is not trivial. In these such cases, liver transplant is discussed, and may be the only option to survive.

Evaluation of fatty liver begins with simple blood tests to assess liver function. These blood tests are the ALT, AST, bilirubin, and possibly alkaline phosphatase.

Unfortunately, many times these liver tests are elevated, and ignored by both physician and patient. These elevated (and abnormal) liver tests may be the first indication that trouble is brewing in the liver. This is almost always followed by some sort of liver imaging test, such as an ultrasound, CT scan or MRI of the liver and abdomen. If I suspect a more advanced stage of fatty liver disease, I will recommend we perform a liver biopsy, a procedure that involves removing a small sample of tissue from the liver, and examining it under a microscope to look for signs of inflammation and scarring.

Unfortunately, despite extensive research in this field, no single standard and targeted therapy exists for fatty liver disease in 2015. In other words , no medication is currently the perfectly effective treatment for fatty liver disease. Almost always my patient will ask me , “Hey Doc, what pill can I take to fix this problem? And I reply there is none.

So we typically work to reduce the risk factors that have caused the fatty liver disease which are well known as I have eluded to above. If the patient is obese, we ask them to lose weight. Weight loss can be tough in the modern day lifestyle, but a committed approach involving caloric reduction and increasing physical activity usually works. Patients with diabetes and or high cholesterol are placed on medications to better control these disorders of their metabolism.

No alternative medicine treatments are proven to cure nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The use of herbs, and many other widely available over the counter supplements not only don’t work, but can be dangerous. Some studies have shown that natural substances such as Vitamin E and coffee may help to reduce the damage caused by inflammation. However, more research is needed, and patients should discuss the use of these substances with their liver specialist.

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