October marks National Liver Awareness Month. The director of UCSF Fresno’s Liver Program strives to help everyone maintain a healthy liver.
On Saturday, October 19th, UCSF Fresno is hosting Liver Expo 2019. It’s a free event and open to the public. Attendees will hear from medical experts and they’ll learn about prevention, diagnosis, and management of fatty liver disease as well as Hepatitis C.
Dr. Marina Roytman calls the liver one of the most important organs in the body.
“It serves as a cleaning station right, everybody’s liver, everybody’s bodies make toxins, and liver and kidneys are responsible for cleaning those toxins out,” stated Dr. Roytman. And not only that, she adds, “It makes certain proteins to help our bodies to stay nourished and also to help our bodies to heal wounds or not bleed out.”
But she says many patients may not know the damage they are doing to their liver, if they are overweight, don’t exercise, and have an unhealthy diet.
Dr. Roytman said, “I don’t want people to think that it’s only alcohol, right, there’s many other things that can damage the liver, one of the most common conditions that we see here in the Central Valley is something called fatty liver disease.”
She said fatty liver disease is when fat is accumulated throughout the liver.
“Having fat build up in the liver can be as damaging as drinking alcohol, and it can lead to liver damage and overtime, to progressive liver scarring which is known as liver cirrhosis,” stated Dr. Roytman.
It is her mission to help people prevent damage to the liver. She works alongside registered dietitian Kristen Coleman.
Kristen commented, “The liver is involved in all of the digestion, absorption, and metabolism of the food that we eat, so the food we do eat really does impact our liver health.”
Kristen said liver damage can be reversed, “With simple diet changes and exercise and weight loss, our body does this amazing thing and the first place it loses all of those fat cells is on our organs, especially our liver.”
She suggests people stay away from food and drinks with simple sugars and high fat content.
“Coffee’s great for the liver, and then any foods that are high in fiber. We like to focus on fruits and vegetables, and if you are gonna eat carbohydrate rich foods, we wanna make sure they’re whole grains, so your brown rice, your brown pasta, your quinoa type grains, or barley, those are gonna be better choices than say the standard white pastas,” added Kristen.
Alongside a healthy diet, Dr. Roytman said those with fatty liver disease only have to lose 10-percent of their body weight to reverse the damage to their liver.
Both Dr. Roytman and Kristen look forward to providing healthy liver tips and information to people at the Liver Expo 2019 at UCSF Fresno.
“I hope people walk away from this event really inspired to take good care of their liver and with a skill set on how to do that,” ended Dr. Roytman.
Liver Expo 2019 is on October 19th from 8:30am to 4pm at the UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education and Research. To register for the free, public event, click here.