What is included in the patient education about fatty liver disease?

Updated: Apr 12, 2018
  • Author: Emily Tommolino, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Fatty liver was once considered to be an entirely benign condition, but it is now clear that this is not always the case. Thus, patient education on dietary decisions and portions is essential. Nutrition and lifestyle education are the mainstays of therapy. Ideally, during every healthcare provider encounter, the issues of food choices, food portions, and exercise, including weight-bearing exercise, should be emphasized and reviewed. In addition, the American Diabetes Association and other organizations offer excellent dietary and lifestyle advice.

Patients with heavy alcohol use (men: >3 drinks per day; women: >2 drinks per day) for longer than 5 years should be counseled that they are at an increased risk for alcoholic liver disease. [92]

Patients with alcoholic fatty liver should be counseled on the detrimental role alcohol plays in their liver problem and the likely progression to more advanced liver disease with continued alcohol use. It is important to emphasize abstinence from alcohol early and continuously so as to optimize its beneficial effects. Abstinence improves liver histology, decreases portal hypertension, and decreases, but does not eliminate, the development of cirrhosis. Alcohol rehabilitation should be offered to all patients, with an understanding of the addictive nature of alcoholism.


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