Fatty liver disease symptoms: Fingernail shape can be a serious warning sign

Obesity: NHS explain how to work out your BMI

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The spleen is a fist-shaped organ in the upper left side of the abdomen, next to the stomach and behind the left ribs; it plays an important role in the number of blood cells in the body. Fatty liver disease can cause the spleen to enlarge. When the spleen isn’t working properly, it may start to remove healthy blood cells from the body. The NHS confirmed that this can lead to anaemia, where there is a reduced level of functioning red blood cells.

One visual clue of anaemia is having “spoon-shaped fingernails” that have a central depression that is large enough to hold a drop of liquid, explained the Mayo Clinic.

Other general warning signs of anaemia include:

  • Tiredness
  • Lack of energy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Herat palpitations
  • Pale skin

Scarring of the liver – also known as cirrhosis – can also lead to other visible symptoms.

Examples include red palms and yellowing of the skin and eyes (i.e. jaundice).

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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that can lead to cirrhosis is linked to obesity.

The condition is also associated with pre-diabetes, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Having a combination of these conditions tends to promote the deposit of fat in the liver.

Excess fat in the liver acts as a toxin causing liver inflammation and, eventually, scarring.

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If you’re concerned you may have fatty liver disease, do book an appointment with your GP.

In the meantime, there are ways to reduce the likelihood of fatty liver disease turning into extensive scarring.

For instance, eating a “healthy plant-based diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats” is recommended.

The Mayo Clinic also advises people to “reduce the number of calories you eat each day and get more exercise” if you’re currently overweight.

The NHS Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator can provide a general idea as to whether or not you need to lose weight.

A more effective measurement is measuring the waist circumference, which requires a flexible clothing tape measure.

Positioned midway at the bottom of the ribs and above the hips, the tape measure should wrap around the body.

Men measuring more than 94cm (37in) are recommended by the NHS to lose weight – if it’s over 102cm (40in) you’re advised to see your GP.

Women who measure up as 80cm (31.5in) are also recommended by the NHS to lose weight – again, if it’s over 88cm (34.5in) you’re advised to see your GP.

Being very overweight not only puts you at risk of fatty liver disease, it can also increase the likelihood of developing numerous health conditions.

Carrying too much fat around the waist can lead to:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Stroke

“If you have a healthy weight, work to maintain it by choosing a healthy diet and exercising,” added the Mayo Clinic.

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