The fatty liver It is an entity that pediatricians speak of more and more. It is defined as the presence of a greater amount of fat than usual in that very important organ that is the liver, the authentic metabolic manager of the human body.
But what makes children's livers suddenly fatter than usual? Can it be prevented? We tell you the causes and how to prevent fatty liver in children.
The main cause involved in the appearance of fatty liver in adults is alcohol consumption; on the contrary, in children, its most frequent origin is the overweight-obesity complex. Given that the prevalence of overweight-obesity in the Western world is 25-30%, fatty liver is the major chronic liver disease children worldwide.
This disease is a real trap, because does not present with any symptoms in its early stages, but it can lead to serious pictures. Let's imagine this disease as a ladder: the first step is called steatosis; the second, since it involves inflammation of the liver, we call it steatohepatitis; the third involves the presence of stable liver damage, the death of part of its cells and the replacement by useless fibrous tissue (cirrhosis).
The cirrhosis it can, in turn, lead to liver cancer. I do not intend to alarm with the exposition of this evolutionary drift, but to point out that the first step on the ladder (simple steatosis) is reversible, and that we have to take this pathology very seriously.
The diagnosis of fatty liver can be made through a abdominal ultrasound. We have to suspect the presence of inflammation through an elevation of transaminases, verified in a simple biochemical analysis of the blood. If this elevation is verified in a sustained manner, we must do a liver biopsy or an abdominal resonance with elastography.
The most important pillar in tackling fatty liver is to tackle it in the early stages. Very easy. With healthy lifestyles, such as regular aerobic exercise and reduced consumption of carbohydrates simple absorption.
Contrary to what might be thought, it is better to opt for this dietary measure than for reducing fat consumption. On the other hand, there is speculation about the therapeutic role of vitamin E and some oral antidiabetic drugs, such as metformin, but their use protocols have not yet been fully established.
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