It was revealed this week that late singer George Michael’s official cause of death was natural causes resulting from heart disease and fatty liver. But what exactly is fatty liver?

WHAT IS FATTY LIVER DISEASE?

Fatty liver is a disease caused by abnormal deposits of fat appearing in the organ, which causes inflammation and scarring. Eventually, this scar tissue overtakes the healthy liver tissue and the liver slowly begins to deteriorate and stop working.

Various factors can cause fatty liver, the most common being excessive alcohol use; though it is important to know that this is not the only cause. In fact, a new type of liver disease description is emerging, called Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. With this, obesity, sedentary lifestyles, certain metabolic deficiencies, as well as overconsumption of sugar and processed carbohydrates are the main causes. NAFLD is making its way toward being the number one cause of needing a liver transplant in this country.

Fatty liver disease affects roughly 33% of Americans, including six million children. It is the number one liver condition in youngsters. Unlike, heart disease, fatty liver produces no telltale symptoms, so a person could have the disease and not know it.

A few tips to decrease your chances of developing the disease are: reduce sugar intake, increase color of foods, eat more brightly hued plants (bright greens, reds, oranges, and purples), increase omega 3 fatty acid consumption (wild fish, chia and flax seeds, walnuts), drink less alcohol, and try to take around 10,000 steps per day. Stay active!

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