All of us have heard about the fatty liver disease but have you heard of Pediatric Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?
It begins with excess of fat deposition in the liver. Pediatric NAFLD as the name suggests is observed in children. Males have 2 times more chances of getting affected than females. Obese children are at a higher risk of developing NAFLD. That is why it is always stressed that you must fight obesity. Obesity in children is a grave issue as it can negatively affect their lives.
Fatty liver in kids has become very common these days due to modern diet and lifestyle factors. There was a time when this disease occurred only in middle aged people.
Some of the kids with the condition are also diagnosed with high BP and type 2 diabetes. This affects their lifespan as well as quality of life.
Symptoms of fatty liver in kids
Children with fatty liver disease don’t show the symptoms. Some kids can have abdominal pain on the right side, fatigue or constipation. An examination by the doctor can find obesity around the waist area, signs of insulin resistance and an enlarged liver. To diagnose pediatric fatty liver, the doctor will carry out blood tests and do an abdominal ultrasound to find out if there is fat deposition in the liver.
Causes of fatty liver in kids
The precise cause of this disease is unknown at the moment. It can be due to genetic factors as well as environmental triggers that cause insulin resistance and accumulation of fats in the liver. Other reasons can be activation of immune cells and oxidative stress.
What can be done about it?
Sadly, there are no medications that can treat the disease. However, research is underway and in the near future there may be effective medicines for fatty liver in kids.
NAFLD must be treated by losing weight gradually, about half a kilo a week. It has been found that when children with disease lose even just 10% of their body weight, positive results can be seen. Weight loss should be done with exercise and diet control.
Here are some easier ways of losing weight:
- Avoid consuming seed oils manufactured industrially as they are high in oxidized omega 6s.
- Stop consuming sugar loaded processed food and sweetened beverages.
- Drink the juice of raw veggies every day
Kids suffering from fatty liver are often constantly hungry as their blood sugar levels are high. This causes an increase in blood insulin levels that eventually make the person feel hungry. To handle this, the following needs to be done:
- Increase protein intake by adding it to every meal of the day (3 times)
- Add a raw veggie salad as well as cooked veggies to the meal. Salad dressing should be more of citrus juices, balsamic vinegar and cold pressed oils.
- Reduce carb consumption, especially foods that have refined flour and sugar in them. These include most breads and breakfast cereals.
Kids also need to be active. They should go in for sports they like best such as swimming, cricket and rowing (if possible)
Disclaimer: This article does not take precedence over what is advised by the doctor.
Hope that was helpful in dealing with fatty liver in kids!
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