Fatty liver patients have increased five-fold in two decades: Doctors

Friday, 26 April 2019

Preventive measures of fatty liver disease include aerobic exercises for 30 to 40 minutes. Along with this, one can also opt for Yoga.

PUNE: The fatty liver disease is spreading fast among city dwellers owing to alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle and increased sugar content in diet that heightens chances of developing risk-inducing factors such as obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol, say doctors. 

They underlined the importance of keeping the liver healthy on the occasion of World Liver Day (April 19).

Dr Harshal Rajekar, Consultant, hepatobiliary and gastro-intestinal surgery, the Columbia Asia Hospital, Pune, said, “We come across at least 5 to 10 patients of this disease per day. The number has increased five times in the past 20 years.”

“However, in many cases, especially in the early stages, the disease can show no signs. Therefore, it remains undetected. Normally, a person has up to 5 per cent fat in their liver. A person, who has fat content in liver weighing over 5 to 10 per cent of the original weight of the liver has increased chances of fatty liver disease. Fatty liver is caused by excessive deposition of fat in the liver and can be aggravated by alcohol among other things,” said Dr Rajekar. 

He said timely medical intervention can help keep the disease in check.

“Diagnostic tests such as liver ultrasonography, computed tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging and elastography can detect fatty liver. Fatty liver disease patients can lead a regulated but normal life,” added Dr Rajekar.

Preventive measures of fatty liver disease include aerobic exercises for 30 to 40 minutes. In addition, one can opt for Yoga. Controlling body weight and a healthy diet comprising greens and fruits, intake of vitamin E are some steps for lifestyle management, which also help control diabetes better and reduce the occurrence of fatty liver up to 90 per cent. 

Highlighting the importance of the liver, Dr Sharan Narute, Consultant, gastrointestinal hepatobilliary and liver transplant surgeon at city-based Jupiter Hospital, said the liver, the heaviest organ and largest gland in the human body, has around 500-odd functions. Some of the  important functions are detoxification, protein synthesis and digestion of food.

“Several food items like coffee, cruciferous vegetables, grapes etc are good for liver but daily balanced diet is most important, along with physical exercise as simple as brisk walking. Unfortunately, the liver is the most neglected organ and protecting it is important when there is no artificial organ or device available, which can function like the liver. It can get damaged due to several reasons, the most common being viral hepatitis, alcohol intake, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and hepatotoxic drugs,” said Dr Narute.

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