Red palms are a sign of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
The NHS says that if detected and managed at an early stage, it is possible to prevent NAFLD from getting worse and reduce the amount of fat in your liver. However, it can sometimes be difficult to spot the symptoms. A healthy liver should contain little or no fat, and NAFLD is typically seen in people who are overweight or obese.
The NHS says it’s estimated that one in three people in the UK have early stages of NAFLD, where there are small amounts of fat in their liver.
Indeed, the Mayo Clinic claims that NAFLD is “more and more common in the world”, especially in Western countries.
The Mayo Clinic says that NAFLD usually doesn’t cause any signs, although when it does, it can include fatigue, pain, or discomfort in the upper right abdomen.
Some people with NAFLD may develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an aggressive form of fatty liver disease in which the liver becomes inflamed and can progress to advanced scarring (cirrhosis) and liver failure.
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The Mayo Clinic reports that possible signs and symptoms of NASH and cirrhosis include abdominal swelling, enlarged blood vessels just below the skin’s surface, and enlarged spleen.
Some people may also notice that they have red palms, yellowing of the skin and eyes.
Nonetheless, the NHS says: “There are usually no symptoms of NAFLD in the early stages.
“You probably won’t know you have it unless it’s diagnosed when tested for some other reason.”
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There are several different stages of NAFLD, although the NHS says most people will never develop more than the first stage, “usually without realizing it”.
“In a small number of cases, it can progress and possibly lead to liver damage if it is not detected and managed,” adds the health organization.
If you are diagnosed with NAFLD, further tests may be needed to determine your stage.
The NHS says: “Most people with NAFLD will not develop serious problems, but if you are diagnosed with the disease it is a good idea to take steps to prevent it from getting worse.”
There is currently no specific drug for NAFLD, but making healthy lifestyle choices can help.
For example, your doctor may recommend medications to treat high blood pressure, treat high cholesterol, treat type 2 diabetes and obesity, according to the NHS.
“If you develop severe cirrhosis and your liver is no longer functioning properly, you may need to be put on the waiting list for a liver transplant,” the health organization warns.
For adults, the NHS says the average wait time for a liver transplant is 135 days for transplants from recently deceased donors.
NAFLD is not caused by alcohol, but drinking alcohol can make it worse. Therefore, you may need to remove it from your diet or reduce your intake.
Experts are not sure why some people accumulate fat in the liver while others do not.
NASH is more likely in the elderly, people with diabetes, and people whose body fat is concentrated in the abdomen.
According to the British Liver Trust (BLT), people are more likely to develop fatty liver disease if they have an unhealthy diet or if their weight is overweight or obese.