The Link between Fatty Liver Disease and ALT Level
We all know about the importance of maintaining the health of our liver because of the different possible liver diseases if we fail to do so, such as liver cancer and hepatitis. However, among all the liver problems there is one that is often neglected but brings equally harmful effects to our body, and that is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
What is Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?
Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease can be categorised into two types, one being simple fatty liver and the other being non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Most people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease have simple fatty liver. As the name of it suggests, fatty liver occurs when there is too much fat accumulated in the liver. If it is not being diagnosed or controlled, inflammation will occur, leading to liver damage and high ALT level.
Fatty liver disease is common in the U.S., affecting an estimated 80 million of the population. And to many people’s surprise, it is the most common chronic liver condition in children and adolescents. According to a study published by the Journal of Pediatrics, there is a huge correlation between obesity and liver diseases and its harmful effects can begin as young as the age of 8. It is revealed that, for children of 3 years old, the larger their waist circumference is, the more likely they will have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease when they reach 8.
While most of the parents know about the potential health risks in overweight children, few are aware of the correlation between obesity and liver diseases. As obesity is on the rise, especially among children, there is no surprise fatty liver disease is getting more and more common in children and youngsters. One might wonder, how can parents keep track on the liver health of their children, or even their own? Thanks to today’s advanced medical technology, ALT level can be used as an indication to find out one’s liver condition.
What is ALT?
ALT refers to an enzyme that is largely found in the liver. When the liver is damaged, ALT will be sent to the bloodstream, signalling liver disease. Given the nature of this enzyme, ALT level in blood is used as an indication of the liver status, giving information about the seriousness of liver damage.
Keeping ALT level within range
Over the years, ALT has been a reliable indicator of liver diseases. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to keep your ALT level within range. Since most of the liver problems, especially fatty liver disease, do not have much symptoms or the symptoms often appear at a very late stage, it is easy for patients to miss the most critical treatment period, leading to liver fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver cancer. Since treatment options are limited, once the liver fails to function, the only way is liver transplant, which could take years to happen.
Ways to protect your liver
The liver is one of the most important organs in our body. Not only does it regulate most chemical levels in blood, it also helps breaking down, balancing, and creating nutrients for the body to use. As the results of the study shows, it is never too young to start protecting your liver. Aside from maintaining a healthy diet, by regulating and monitoring your ALT level, many liver diseases, including fatty liver disease, can be prevented.
- U.S. News - Childhood Obesity Linked to Liver Disease
- The Journal of Pediatrics - Associations of Early to Mid-Childhood Adiposity with Elevated Mid-Childhood Alanine Aminotransferase Levels in the Project Viva Cohort
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases - Definition & Facts of NAFLD & NASH
- * All research and clinical data should be used as reference purposes only, results may vary.