Double trouble! Research shows that liver diseases and obesity are interlinked
2 The only treatment available at the moment
Gavin Owenby, a 13-year-old in Hiawassee, Georgia, found out about his disease after developing crippling abdominal pain. The doctor had to resort to ask him to exercise and change his diet as there was no medication to fall back on.”They told me to stay away from sugar and eat more fruits and vegetables,” Gavin said.
Doctors find it extremely difficult to both diagnose the disease and to offer asolid medication to tackle the problem at hand. Most people have a mild form of the disease with no obvious symptoms. This is worrisome as nonalcoholic fatty liver poses a severe risk to type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
In severe cases, the fat that infiltrates the liver causes inflammation and scarring, which eventually shuts down the organ. This can cause cirrhosis, liver cancer and ultimately liver failure. Studies testify that 5 million Americans have this more progressive form of the disease, known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH.
3 NASH increases the need for liver transplants
Almost three decades ago, doctors didn’t even have a name for NASH as the case was so rare. But now, NASH is the biggest cause that has increased the need for liver transplant.
A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that the transplants performed because of NASH had increased to 10% by 2009, which was a mere 1% in 2001. The researchers predict that NASH will surpass Hepatitis C and chronic liver diseases as a cause for liver transplants by 2020.
Even though the problem of a fatty liver can be faced by people of all races and ethnicities,it is more common among Hispanics as they carry a gene called PNPLA3, which forces the liver to aggressively produce and store a type of fat called triglycerides.