Monmouth's Ask The Doctor March-April 2020

QUESTION: I was told I have a “Fatty Liver” and I may end up with cirrhosis!!! I don’t even drink alcohol. How is this possible? ANSWER:

252 W. Delaware Ave Pennington, NJ 08534

D O C T O R A D V I C E I was taught that fatty liver was the earliest manifestation of liver disease seen in alcoholism. In the last 10 yearswe have been seeing a newvariation of fatty liver, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). It is estimated that 20% to 30% of the general population currently have NAFLD!! Obesity, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome are the biggest risk factors but genetics plays a role as well. In obese persons, the prevalence of fatty liver is 67% – 75%!! How did this epidemic come about? It is purely due to our 21st Century diets. A diet high in saturated fats AND highly refined carbohydrates (sugar) is not a normal diet. Think about a Big Mac, Fries, a Chocolate Shake and a DQ Sundae OR a Pepperoni and Sausage Pizza with a soda (full of high fructose corn syrup, HFCS) andCheesecake for dessert. These foods create chaos in our metabolism. There’s too much “fuel” coming in at once and the cells don’t know which fuel they should burn to make energy – fat or sugar. Fat begins to accumulate inside themuscles and liver.

Fatty Liver causes no symptoms. It may be discovered by a liver blood test or ultrasound. It is reversible if caught early but 40 – 50% of people will progress to inflammation and scarring and some of those will develop cirrhosis and liver cancer. While the food industry attempts to addict us to sugary, fatty processed foods, the health care system is preparing for a record number of liver transplants in the next 10 – 20 years. Fatty Liver is reversible in this early stage by losing weight, lowering highly refined carbohydrate foods (processed foods, sweets, breads and pastas) AND lowering saturated fats. We encourage eating leaner proteins, lots of vegetables and some fruits. Fish oil and Delta/Gamma tocotrienols have been shown to protect against development of fatty liver, and possibly

reverse it!! And we need to get the food industry and the healthcare system to work for the same goals. Feeding people in a healthy way will save lives, save money and be our saving grace.

Dr Kate Thomsen’s office for holistic health care is located in Pennington, NJ. She is trained in Family Medicine, and Board Certified in Integrative Medicine, and is an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner. She has been practicing Functional Medicine for 20 years. For more information see or call the office at 609-818-9700.

Tissue Changes That Are Not Cancer Not every change in the body’s tissues is cancer. Some tissue changes may develop into cancer if they are not treated, however. Here are some examples of tissue changes that are not cancer but, in some cases, are monitored:

Hyperplasia occurs when cells within a tissue di- vide faster than normal and extra cells build up or proliferate. However, the cells and the way the tissue is organized look normal under a microscope. Hy- perplasia can be caused by several factors or condi- tions, including chronic irritation.

Dysplasia is a more serious condition than hyper- plasia. In dysplasia, there is also a buildup of extra cells. But the cells look abnormal and there are changes in how the tissue is organized. In general, the more abnormal the cells and tissue look, the greater the chance that cancer will form. Some types of dysplasia may need to be monitored or treated. An example of dysplasia is an abnormal mole (called a dys- plastic nevus) that forms on the skin. A dysplastic nevus can turn into melanoma, although most do not. An even more serious condition is carcinoma in situ. Although it is sometimes called cancer, carcinoma in situ is not can- cer because the abnormal cells do not spread beyond the original tissue. That is, they do not invade nearby tissue the way that cancer cells do. But, because some carcinomas in situ may become cancer, they are usually treated. Normal cells may become cancer cells. Before cancer cells form in tissues of the body, the cells go through abnormal changes called hyperplasia and dysplasia. In hyperplasia, there is an increase in the number of cells in an organ or tissue that appear normal under a microscope. In dysplasia, the cells look abnormal under a microscope but are not cancer. Hyperplasia and dysplasia may or may not become cancer. For more info visit




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