A new condition has come to light that could be a sign of a silent killer which a third of us could be unknowingly developing.
With an increasing urge to order junk food on the go, a need to eat healthily and maintain an active lifestyle has become a necessity.
While leading an unhealthy lifestyle consisting of foods high in fat and sugar, as well as consuming alcohol, may not have its obvious risks at first, it turns out that it could have some pretty serious consequences.
Lifestyles like this can trigger a build up of fat in your liver - a vital organ responsible for breaking down fat - which can ultimately lead to a condition called Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
This disease is directly not linked to alcohol, but drinking more than the recommended 14 units per week could prove incredibly dangerous for consumers.
Following the death of the legendary pop star George Michael at the early age of 53, NAFLD's prominence surged in 2016.
It was stated to be one of the contributing factors, apart from heart disease, that led to his tragic death.
The merging of NAFLD with other liver infections, as well as heavy alcohol consumption, can result in a life-threatening condition for individuals in their 30s and 40s if not treated.
Pamela Healy, CEO of the British Liver Trust, has since revealed that people don't realise how being overweight can easily contribute to a slow death.
“The liver is just as vital an organ as the heart but people often fail to appreciate the importance of keeping it healthy. There are also lots of myths surrounding it," Healy said, as reported by The Mirror.
"For example, many people believe you need to be an alcoholic to develop liver disease, whereas one in five of us are drinking at a level that puts our liver at risk. Many also fail to realise that being overweight is a major risk factor.”
A healthy liver should contain little or no fat - but an unhealthy diet could result in a little amount of fat already lining in our livers which could lead to a high risk of high blood pressure, kidney complaints and diabetes.
In the wake of a sedentary lifestyle, with more and more people now working from home since the Covid-19 lockdown, it's estimated by NHS Inform that one in three people in the UK could already be at the early stages of NAFLD.
If the levels of build-up fat go medically unchecked, then the disease could transform into a more serious condition called non-alcohol steatohepatitis, or NASH - where the liver becomes inflamed.
NHS has cited symptoms of NAFLD such as extreme tiredness, unexplained weight loss, and weakness including an aching pain in the top right side of the tummy.
Thankfully, the liver is the only organ in the human body that has the ability to regenerate itself and is highly resilient to diseases - but this is exactly why following a healthy diet and lifestyle is of the utmost importance.Featured Image Credit: Oleg Elkov / Alamy Stock Photo / Martin Williams / Alamy Stock Photo