Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is often associated with Type 2 diabetes. Like Type 2 diabetes, it is found primarily in developed countries. Fat invades the liver and can cause scarring, and even liver failure if it progresses too far. Researchers at the University of Verona in Italy looked at non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and a heart condition called atrial fibrillation in people who had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Their study, reported on in PLos One in February 2013, included 400 people with Type 2 diabetes. Over a period of 10 years…
- 42 cases of atrial fibrillation were diagnosed.
It was found the diabetics who had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease were more than 4 times as likely to have fibrillation present in their atria as those without fatty liver disease.
The heart has four chambers. The top two are known as the atria and the lower two are the ventricles. When your heart beats, the atria beat first, followed by the ventricles. During atrial fibrillation the atria just vibrate rather than beating normally. Since the ventricles are more powerful than the atria, the heart loses only slight loss of function. Many people live normal lives with atrial fibrillation, but they can have difficulties with strenuous activities such as running. American President George H.W. Bush, normally in good health, suffered a collapse when running and had to be treated for atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation can also lead to strokes when it contributes to the formation of clots than can travel to the brain.
To prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, prevent or control Type 2 diabetes by maintaining:
- a healthful vegan diet,
- normalizing your body weight, and
- getting enough exercise.
Symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease include:
- unintended weight loss, and
- pain in the upper right part of the abdomen.
As the disease progresses, confusion, loss of memory, and black tarry stools can occur.
People with atrial fibrillation have an irregular heartbeat. If you feel your pulse and the beat is obviously highly irregular, fibrillation of your atria is likely the cause. Your doctor can diagnose the condition with an electrocardiogram, or EKG. Electrodes placed on your chest measure the electricity going through your heart. A distinctive picture of a jiggly line in parts of the EKG indicates fibrillations. If atrial fibrillation is diagnosed, your doctor can use a defibrillator to restore a normal heartbeat if the condition is caught early enough. If defibrillation is unsuccessful, he or she might treat you with blood thinners to prevent clots and stroke.