TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A Topeka man made a major milestone for his health, fighting fatty live disease.
Matt Lara from Topeka was diagnosed with a fatty liver in January 2018. The National Institutes of Health reports 25% of people in the world suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
“A lot of fat is building up around the liver and making it hard to process what it needs to process,” Lara said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a fatty liver can be caused by being overweight, insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and/or high levels of fat in the blood.
“It was a little scary,” Lara said. “It was the first time I had heard of a fatty liver. I didn’t know that was a thing. Ultimately it could lead to needing a liver transplant, liver failure, a lot of things if it’s not fixed.”
Matt went in December to the doctor’s officer for more lab testing, and found his numbers were even higher. So he went in January to the Cotton O’Neil Weight Management Center in Topeka to get help.
“They tell you how many calories you need to eat, and how much protein you need to eat,” Lara said. “They give you little tricks along the way. One thing was to eat thirty grams of protein before noon. That helps me make sure that I am not as hungry throughout the day, especially at night when I like to snack.”
Program Manager Stephanie Sisk said there are a few key contributors to fatty liver disease that can be alleviated with the right choices.
“Especially for something like fatty liver and high cholesterol, a lot of that is related to our diet and exercise,” Sisk said. “Sometimes we don’t need a really strict diet, it’s more about developing these habits that can lead to a healthier lifestyle, where we can do labs 6 months later and all of a sudden those labs are improved and we can get off medications.”
Matt reports he is seeing the results.
“Ever since then, I have completely changed my diet, I run more and I think I’ve lost about 12 percent of my body weight,” Lara said. “I had my physical last month and had more lab work, and my liver enzymes were back in the normal range. It’s really benefited my health, but also my family. I am able to go out and play soccer with my kids and in the long term be around a little bit more.”
In the last six months, Matt has lost 25 pounds. He now has about 6 more pounds to go to reach his weight goal, thanks to manageable lifestyle changes that make all the difference to our health.