There are plenty of reasons to keep your liver healthy. You may know that it is your body’s main force against removing toxins. But your liver may also play a role in heart health.
Liver disease is caused by fat buildup in the organ, resulting from alcoholism or poor diet. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, is an increasingly common form of the condition caused by high-sugar diets and weight gain.
New research suggests that the buildup of fat in the liver not caused by alcohol may drastically increase the risk of heart failure.
NAFLD can lead to permanent liver damage and increase the risk for atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Heart failure is a term used when the heart does not pump blood as well as it should.
Researchers looked at national health survey data from 2008 to 2015 and found more than 3.8 million adults with NAFLD and about 400,000 that also had heart failure. They found that people with NAFLD tended to be older, male, diabetic, or have coronary heart disease.
However, even after adjusting for age, gender, and race, researchers still discovered that adults with NAFLD were 3.5 times more likely to have heart failure than those without it.
The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Vardhmaan Jain, said they expected a high hazard, but not as high as it was.
NAFLD is underdiagnosed and underappreciated as a health hazard. However, it can have devastating effects. Monitoring liver health is an important component of longevity.
One way you can cut the risk for NAFLD is by following the American Heart Association’s (AHA) essential 8 for improving and maintaining heart health. The lifestyle tips are:
- Don’t smoke
- Keep a healthy weight
- Be physically active
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get enough sleep
- Control blood pressure
- Control cholesterol
- Control blood sugar