Fatty liver disease can cause kidney failure without warning signs
(NaturalHealth365) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 1 in 7 Americans are living with chronic kidney disease (CKD), and the vast majority of people still in the mild stages of this life-altering disease don’t even know they have it. Today, we feature research from the American Journal of Kidney Disease, which reveals the often overlooked risk factor for kidney failure – nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Unfortunately, research also shows that liver disease signs and symptoms are often overlooked or nearly non-existent, too – even in advanced stages. This means millions of individuals could be careening toward fatty liver disease and life-threatening kidney failure, which hurts their chances of doing something positive to avoid it.
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Why the link between nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and kidney failure, researchers explain
NAFLD occurs when there is a build up of fatty tissue in a person’s liver, even if they drink little to no alcohol. This can reduce liver function over time may also lead to dangerous scarring on the liver (cirrhosis) which further impairs liver health.
The study featured in today’s article looked at the data of 262,619 patients newly diagnosed with NAFLD and 769,878 patients without it. After controlling for a variety of factors, the researchers discovered that the incidence of CKD was significantly higher among people with a NAFLD diagnosis.
Why the link? Authors of the paper published in The American Journal of Kidney Diseases point to “experimental evidence” which indicates that “nonalcoholic fatty liver disease itself may exacerbate systemic and hepatic insulin resistance, cause [elevated levels of triglycerides and small-dense low-density lipoprotein and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol], and release a variety of proinflammatory, procoagulant, pro-oxidant, and profibrogenic mediators,” all of which are key movers in the development of CKD.
Other better known risk factors for CKD include being older than 60 years, congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
Having CKD can be a seriously life-altering health problem. In more severe stages of the disease, a person may be at risk for kidney failure in which the renal organs are no longer able to filter waste from the blood. Many of these individuals require kidney transplants, long-term dependence on dialysis (in which a machine filters the blood for them), or both.
Based on the above data, the authors of the cohort study suggest that people with NAFLD should be regularly screened for CKD. Meanwhile, since liver disease signs and symptoms are often easy to miss, you should talk to your doctor about your liver function if you have any known risk factors for NAFLD, including high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, obesity (especially abdominal obesity), polycystic ovary syndrome, sleep apnea, and type 2 diabetes.
Want better liver health? Follow these four health tips and reduce your risk of dangerous fatty liver disease
Like your kidneys, your liver helps filter your blood, but this organ is also important for other things like metabolizing drugs. In order to optimize liver function and health (and, as we’ve seen, potentially lower your risk of kidney failure, too), here are four simple lifestyle tips to keep in mind:
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat lots of fiber, healthy fats, and high quality protein while minimizing your intake of refined sugar and processed carbs.
- Minimize your exposure to environmental toxins.
- Minimize your use of alcohol or, better yet, don’t drink at all. (water is the better choice)
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