Fatty Liver and Obesity: The Hidden Dangers of Weight Gain
By Park Young-jun, Journalist at Gyeongnam Southwest Coverage Headquarters
The arrival of autumn not only brings higher skies and plumper horses but also has a tendency to make people gain weight. Indulging in fatty foods and reconnecting with long-lost family and friends make the perfect recipe for weight gain right before the Chuseok holiday.
As the temperature drops during autumn, our bodies require more energy to maintain warmth compared to summer, leading to increased appetite. Moreover, the dwindling sunlight causes a decrease in the production of vitamin D, resulting in a lower secretion of leptin, the hormone responsible for suppressing appetite. Consequently, controlling our cravings becomes a challenging task.
In light of the upcoming Chuseok festivities, where people tend to consume larger-than-usual amounts of food, it’s essential to be aware of the potential weight gain that accompanies the end of the summer diet.
While visible changes like excess fat in the arms, legs, and abdomen may be the first concern when gaining weight, the internal changes that occur are of greater importance.
Excessive fat accumulation in adipose tissue leads to obesity – a condition that directly contributes to diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, stroke, heart disease, arthritis, and more. Therefore, it is crucial to take preventive measures against obesity.
Dietary fats are not only stored in adipose tissue but can also accumulate in the liver. Among these fats, neutral fat tends to build up in liver cells, causing fatty liver. When the accumulated fat exceeds 5% of the liver’s weight, it is diagnosed as fatty liver. Depending on the degree of progression, it can be classified as steatohepatitis if inflammation and liver cell damage occur, or as fatty cirrhosis if significant fibrosis develops.
Obesity is a common cause of fatty liver, along with factors such as alcohol consumption, insulin resistance, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Fatty liver often remains asymptomatic and is typically discovered during routine health checks through blood tests or abdominal ultrasounds. In some cases, patients may experience discomfort in the upper right abdomen, fatigue, lethargy, or loss of appetite.
Fortunately, fatty liver can be reversed through lifestyle changes that control the contributing factors, such as a balanced diet and regular exercise. If left untreated, the accumulated fat secretes cytokines that can adversely affect the liver, leading to hepatitis, cirrhosis, or even liver cancer. Vigilance is essential to avoid these severe complications.
According to Director Lim Chang-seop, a gastroenterology specialist at Daedong Hospital’s Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Center, modern society’s increased consumption of processed foods and decreased physical activity have naturally raised the proportion of fat in the total energy intake. This shift has made individuals more susceptible to fatty liver disease and obesity. Director Lim emphasizes the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a nutrient-rich diet, maintaining an appropriate weight through regular exercise, and regularly monitoring one’s body composition.
Diagnosing fatty liver involves blood tests and ultrasound examinations, and treatment varies based on the underlying cause. For those struggling with obesity, the goal should be to lose 10% of their current body weight over a period of 3 to 6 months, achieved through a controlled intake of fats and carbohydrates, along with at least three hours of moderate exercise per week.
It is crucial to note that rapid weight loss may increase liver inflammation. If alcohol consumption is a factor, it is necessary to cease drinking. For individuals with diabetes, adherence to prescribed medication and diet therapy under the guidance of a medical professional is essential.
Gastroenterology Specialist Endoscopy Daedong Hospital Gastroenterology Center Lim Chang-seop [사진=대동병원]
[이뉴스투데이 경남서부취재본부 박영준 기자]Autumn is the season when the sky is high and horses gain weight, and autumn is a season where even people can gain weight. In particular, fatty food and drinking with family and friends you haven’t seen in a while are the best conditions for gaining weight before the Chuseok holiday.
In order to raise our body temperature in the cold weather of autumn compared to summer, our bodies use more energy than usual, which increases our appetite. In addition, as the effect of vitamin D decreases due to less sunlight, the secretion of leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite, also decreases, making it difficult to control appetite.
Accordingly, Chuseok, which comes with the beginning of fall, means eating more food than usual, which can lead to natural weight gain as the diet implemented during the summer comes to an end.
When you gain weight, you may first think of external changes such as fat arms, legs and abdomens. But invisible changes are more important.
In our bodies, fat accumulates in adipose tissue, and abnormal accumulation of fat leads to obesity. Obesity can directly cause diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, stroke, heart disease, arthritis, etc., so care is needed.
Fat that is consumed through food can also accumulate in the liver, and among the fats, neutral fat accumulates in the liver cells. If it accumulates more than 5% of the weight of the liver, it is diagnosed as fatty liver. Depending on the degree of progression, it is classified as steatohepatitis if inflammation along with liver cell damage and some fibrosis has developed , and fatty cirrhosis associated with the liver if significant fibrosis has developed.
Fatty liver is commonly caused not only by obesity but also alcohol consumption, insulin resistance, cholesterol, and triglycerides, and is mostly asymptomatic. It is often discovered during a health check, such as a blood test or abdominal ultrasound. From time to time, you may feel discomfort in the upper right side of the abdomen, fatigue, lethargy, or loss of appetite.
In the case of fatty liver, it can be reversibly cured by controlling the triggering factors through lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. If left untreated, accumulated fat secretes cytokines that have an adverse effect on the liver, which can lead to hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer, etc., so be careful.
Director Lim Chang-seop, a gastroenterology specialist at Daedong Hospital’s Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Center, said, “For various reasons, in modern society, fat intake naturally increases as a proportion of total energy intake due to increased intake of meat and foods have been processed, while physical activity is reduced, leading to fatty liver disease and obesity, “They are vulnerable to different diseases,” he said.
Next, he said, “For a healthy life, eat a good quality diet and exercise for an appropriate weight, and it’s a good idea to check your height and weight regularly, as well as body fat through a composition test the body. .”.
Fatty liver is diagnosed through blood tests and ultrasound tests, and treatment begins depending on the cause.
If you are obese, eat high quality meals at regular intervals with the aim of losing 10% of your current body weight for 3 to 6 months, but control your fat and carbohydrate intake and do moderate exercise for around an hour least 3 times a week..
If you lose weight quickly, you should be careful because it can increase liver inflammation. If alcohol is the cause, stop drinking, and if you have diabetes, take prescribed medication and diet therapy under a medical doctor’s diagnosis.
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