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Why you should care about fatty liver disease

The liver is a vital organ necessary for survival.  It performs crucial functions including protein synthesis and detoxification.  When excessive amounts of fat and lipids accumulate in the liver cells, this can lead to liver injury and cause a disease called fatty liver disease.  Fatty liver disease is a serious diagnosis that has become one of the most common causes of abnormal liver function tests in the United States.   Fatty liver disease is also referred to as Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease or NAFLD.  NAFLD is associated with other diseases which influence fat metabolism, such as type 2 diabetes.

Why is fatty liver disease important?

NAFLD is a single disease seen in both alcoholics and non-alcoholics, especially in those who are overweight.  When a biopsy is taken of a fatty liver, features of liver injury and fat deposit in the liver may be seen.  These findings are of crucial importance as fat accumulation may cause progressive inflammation of the liver over time.  This is called steatohepatitis.  Unfortunately, NAFLD may progress to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver, which may mean someone would later need ....

Cholesterol and stroke awareness

September is also National Cholesterol Awareness month!

Do you know your numbers? It is important to know your cholesterol levels as they influence your risk of stroke.  Talk to your provider today to find out where you stand!

Do you have trouble remembering “good” cholesterol versus “bad” cholesterol?  An easy way to keep them straight is to think HDL = happy (“good” cholesterol) and LDL = lousy (“bad” cholesterol).  Check out the American Heart Association’s Meet the Fats for memorable information about cholesterol.

How does cholesterol affect stroke risk?  Build-up of cholesterol plaque within your arteries increases your risk of stroke by blocking normal blood flow.  This reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the affected area.

How can you improve your cholesterol numbers?

Manage Cholesterol to Prevent Stroke

Next time you think about burgers and fries, think about this: these and some other foods are high in saturated fat and can cause arteries to become blocked through the gradual build-up of cholesterol, also known as plaque.

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy fat (lipid) that is required for the body to form cell membranes, some hormones and vitamin D. However, excess cholesterol or frequent consumption of saturated and trans fats can cause trouble. Cholesterol is made within the body and can also be ingested in some foods, such as eggs, meats and dairy products.

Cholesterol or plaque build-up in the arteries can block normal blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke. Approximately 1 in 4 Americans have elevated cholesterol levels, with 63% of those individuals unaware of their status. 

Here are some facts you should remember to help prevent stroke:

Control your blood pressure to prevent stroke

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a leading risk factor for stroke. Yet, more than 1 in every 3 adults in the Northwest has been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Here are some things you can do:
  • Visit your healthcare provider:  Have your blood pressure checked at least once a year – more often if you have a history of high blood pressure, have heart disease, have diabetes, or are overweight. 
  • Get involved:  If you have high blood pressure it's important to work with your provider to improve your health.  This may include changes in diet, exercise, and medications.  Implement changes incrementally for success!
  • Know your family medical history:  If high blood pressure runs in your family, it’s important to ...

Hardening of the arteries is a disease for the ages

A couple of months ago the New York Times published an interesting article summarizing recent findings of researchers who performed CT scans on mummies from Egypt, Peru, the Aleutian Islands and the American Southwest. One of the striking findings was that 38 percent of Egyptian mummies and 29 percent of all other mummies had definite or probable evidence of hardening of the arteries. The incidence was higher in mummies of people of 40 years or older. The geography and diets for the mummies varied greatly and yet the rates of calcified arteries were fairly similar.

What you should know about atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries:

Hardening of the arteries (also known as atherosclerosis) is a disease that has been strongly associated with multiple risk factors. The risk factors in addition to age include smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension. Many of these risk factors are associated with diets that are high in saturated fats or complex carbohydrates and thus to connect this study to modern times is not easy...

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