(KUTV) Fatty liver disease is the most common form of chronic liver disease and a rapidly growing problem here in Utah. It’s important to catch this disease early and make the necessary lifestyle changes.
In October, Jennifer Hamilton was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. The damage to her liver was caused by Fatty Liver Disease.
“The most common reason Intermountain evaluates a person for a liver transplant is Fatty Liver Disease,” says Dr. Richard Gilroy, Hepatologist and Director of Intermountain Medical Center’s Liver Transplant Program.
Patients with Fatty Liver Disease are encouraged to make lifestyle changes. These include:
- Losing Weight
- Adopting a Mediterranean diet
- Drinking coffee
If you catch the disease early and intervene, you can actually decrease the fat in someone’s liver by losing as little as 10% of body weight.
“She (Jennifer), unlike many, actually did what we asked. However, unfortunately, she was quite advanced when we first saw her,” says Dr. Gilroy.
Unable to reverse the damage, Jennifer’s next step meant liver transplant.
“It’s pretty terrifying – thinking of having this major surgery – but it’s what I have to do,” says Jennifer.
Not only has this experience made Jennifer changer her lifestyle, her family has also realized just how much health needs to be a priority.
“This family has embraced it because they realize that it’s not only their parents they’re worried about who are in trouble, but it’s themselves and their children,” says Dr. Gilroy.
On February 3, 2018, Jennifer received a liver. She is doing well and recovering with her husband by her side.