Is liver just a little fat? Understand why we shouldn’t underestimate it – 20/09/2022

Ignored by many, this accumulated fat in the liver can lead to complications and lead to more serious conditions.

Liver steatosis, known as fatty liver, occurs when the liver has too much fat accumulation in its cells. This change in the liver helps to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke) and various types of cancer.

It is a matter of great concern that this condition, although in most cases showing no symptoms, is not at all innocent! Liver steatosis of the liver can lead to progressive levels of inflammation in the organ, causing steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer and even the need for liver transplantation. The importance of not underestimating and intervening first!

The main factors associated with abnormal fat accumulation in the liver are overweight, sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption, diabetes and poor eating habits.

Although more common in this risk group, it can be identified in thin people and there has also been a significant increase in cases in children and adolescents, usually due to poor lifestyle.

So if you are overweight, have an enlarged abdomen, are sedentary, have diabetes / diabetes, or are unable to control your cholesterol and triglycerides, I recommend that you try to evaluate your liver health.

This year, June 9 has been declared International Day for the Awareness of Non-Alcoholic Liver Fat Disease (NASH International Day), to increase visibility and raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis of this condition. When treated immediately, the condition can be reversed without further complications.

Today, hepatic steatosis is considered a silent epidemic, one of the most common liver diseases, already affecting 115 million people worldwide, usually without symptoms.

Due to its silent nature, many patients encounter the problem by chance by performing a stomach ultrasound or measuring liver enzymes (TGO and TGP) in routine assessments.

The increase in cases of fatty liver is strongly correlated with increasing obesity and its metabolic consequences. In view of this, specialists in the field have proposed a change in their nomenclature for metabolic fatty liver disease (GMHD).

Recent data already indicate that DHGM is the most common liver disease and the third leading cause of liver cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of liver transplants, with the potential to lead this classification in the near future.

In the face of such worrying numbers, in people with obesity or metabolic syndrome (hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes), screening for hepatic steatosis with liver enzymes and / or ultrasound is recommended as an initial research routine.

But don’t worry! It is possible to reverse this situation, especially in the early stages. The main pillar of the treatment is maintaining a good weight through regular physical exercise and a diet rich in fiber, vegetables, fruits and vegetables.

Discrete losses of about 5% of body weight are already able to improve steatosis and liver changes. For example, for an ideal weight for a 100 kg man who would weigh 80 kg, reducing the weight to 95 kg would bring benefits to liver health, even without reaching the right weight. However, the more significant the loss, the greater the weight loss (> 7-7%), the greater the response to reduce inflammation and stabilize fibrosis.

Finally, it is essential to determine the level of involvement of each patient’s liver in order to understand the risks and focus on the most appropriate approach. Thus, with early identification and intervention, this situation can be controlled or reversible.

References

1. https://www.international-nash-day.com
2. Anstee QM, Reeves HL, Kotsiliti E, Govaere O, Heikenwalder M. From NASH to HCC: Current Concepts and Future Challenges. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019; 16 (7): 411-28.
3. Chalasani N, Younossi Z, Lavine JE, Charlton M, Cusi K, Rinella M, et al. Diagnosis and Management of Non-Alcoholic Liver Fat Disease: A Practical Guide to the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease. Hepatology. 2018; 67 (1): 328-57.

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