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Can thin people get fatty liver disease?

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The liver is a vital functional organ in human bodies that are responsible for breaking down all nutrients like protein, fat, and carbohydrates and converting them into substances essential to the body.

As the most important site for fat storage, the liver would store some fat, but when fat accumulation in the liver exceeds 5% by weight, fatty liver occurs.

It is commonly known that overweight people are more likely to develop fatty liver disease. However, thin people should not be assumed immune to fatty liver disease.

Thin people are also at a higher risk of getting fatty liver in recent years. A study published in 2012 revealed that obese individuals have a 28% risk of developing fatty liver disease while as many as 7% of lean people could develop this disease.

Thin people with fatty liver may store more fat in the liver rather than fat tissues, and it is hard to detect this disease since there are no obvious symptoms. When more visceral fats build up in the liver and are left undetected, it can lead to metabolic disorders and cause fatty liver in the long term.

The risk factors that raise the chance of getting fatty liver in non-obese people include alcohol drinking, staying up late, sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet.

At present, there are no effective drugs to treat or prevent fatty liver, and you don’t need to take medicine immediately when a fatty liver is detected. But when you find abnormal aminotransferase, blood lipids, and blood sugar, you may be required to receive medications under the guidance of your physician.

The best way to prevent and relieve fatty liver is to exercise regularly and eat healthily. A study published in the Journal of Hepatology found that obese patients following a program of restricted diet and exercise like walking and jogging improved biochemical and histological markers related to fatty liver.

Developing a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help attenuate fatty liver disease. In another study, scientists reviewed the studies that explored the effects of lifestyle interventions on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. They found that consistent physical exercise and a healthy diet can benefit patients with non-alcohol fatty liver disease.

Although fatty liver causes no obvious health problems in the short term, it can lead to steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. You are advised to have a physical examination to check your liver condition.

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