MURRAY, Utah (ABC 4 UTAH) – Diet and exercise top the list of thing we all know we should be doing. It’s especially important for people who have liver disease and are in need of a transplant. In our continued partnership with Intermountain Medical Center, we’re featuring the hospital’s transplant services. Our second report we’re focusing on is diet and lifestyle changes and the effects on organ recipients.
“Well Bill good to see you today. These are some of the foods we’ve been talking about in making the changes in your diet,” said Intermountain Medical Center Transplant Dietician Andrea Young, RN, CN.
20 plus years ago, Bill Anderson says he had spleen surgery and was given medicine laced with Hepatitis C.
“Hepatitis C destroys the liver and over time, it got mine,” said liver disease patient Bill Anderson.
Now, Anderson is on the liver transplant waiting list, but he hopes to reverse his liver disease.
“We’re trying to see how the liver heals and so I’m in the healing process which is extremely slow and I have to maintain my diet it effects me more than anything I do,” said Anderson.
Intermountain Medical Center Transplant Dietician Andrea Young says it starts right here.
“You’ve really made a lot of effort to include lots more fruits and vegetables in all of your meals,” said Young.
“I’ve learned to use for seasonings to use things natural such as celery,” said Anderson.
It’s not just eating fruits and vegetables and eliminating…
“Too much fast foods, restaurants, and overly processed foods especially,” said Young.
But it’s what’s on the bottle, can, box, or bag that Young says tells the true story of nutrition.
“Another thing I’ve done is where you’ve taught me to read labels,” said Anderson.
Young says the rule of thumb: five ingredients you can pronounce means the item is healthier than processed foods loaded with bad stuff for your body.
“Some of those saturated fats when we have them in excess they start to build up in certain areas of your body in your blood vessels, in your liver, in your heart, and all sorts of different places,” said Young.
That’s why fatty liver disease, a side effect of obesity, is quickly becoming a leading cause of liver disease. If your only option is a transplant, that doesn’t mean getting away from diet and exercise.
“All the vitamins, the minerals, and the proteins, the healthy proteins that come from a diet are going to help you get prepared for that operation,” said Young.
A massive operation for donor and recipient. Both should be in the best health possible to have a successful surgery. And post-operation…
“They’re more excited to eat well and exercise and take care of their body and they just feel better in general so they’re able to go out and exercise a little bit more,” said Young.
Anderson is still waiting for his new liver, but in the meantime…
“I’ve had to learn how to cook for myself and not eat pre-processed foods,” said Anderson.
“Use more whole grains rather than white bread, refined grains, simple carbohydrates,” said Young.
A combination of medication and diet is slowly putting Anderson’s health back in his own hands.
“I should gain back a fair amount of my strength and I should heal up now,” said Anderson.
Young says while exercising can be a daunting task, just walking ten minutes three times a day is a good start.
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