Obesity can begin damaging Liver even at the age of 8
Patiala-World over and in India, increasing incidence of liver diseases at an early age has become a cause for worry for healthcare providers. So much so that liver diseases are being touted as the next biggest lifestyle disease after diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The Columbia University conducted study found that 35% of children suffering from obesity had shown signs of non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD) by the age of 8 years.
The study conducted on around 635 children revealed that those with larger waistline at the age of 3 had twice the chances of developing signs indicative of NAFLD in next 5 years.
Throwing light on what NAFLD is Dr. G S Sidhu, Consultant Gastroenterologist Columbia Asia Hospital, Patiala says, “NAFLD is basically accumulation of fat in liver in people who have no or little alcohol consumption. Liver happens to be the 2nd largest organ in the body and manages the important function of getting rid of all toxins. Around 5 to 10 per cent of fat in liver is fine, but when fat content is more than the threshold limit, the liver is said to be fatty. NAFLD does not necessarily show symptoms during the onset, giving a patient no clue about deteriorating liver condition. Although the causes of the disease are unknown, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels are the primary risk factors. Fatty liver may not cause severe problems, but the condition usually grows in to a serious issue by causing inflammation in the liver, scarring, cirrhosis and even liver failure. Before NAFLD advances in to a serious condition, healthy balanced diet with low sugar and fat content can help it to reverse. As NAFLD shows no signs or definite symptoms, a person should get regular testing done, especially if the person is suffering from any of the previous conditions.”
In the age group of 15 to 49 years, over 31% urban women and 26% urban men are overweight or obese in India, with over 32% women and 43% men in Punjab. Urban Patiala mirrors the state data of 32% women and 43% women being obese.
Although an international study indicated that by 2025, India will be home to over 17 million obese children, and stand 2nd amongst 184 countries for childhood obesity. While obesity remains one of the major risk factors for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol levels in the body, awareness around its effect on liver, especially in child is very low and limited” said Dr. G S Sidhu
There happens to be no cure for the disease, especially when it has progressed to advanced stages. Primarily lifestyle choices need to be altered in most of these cases, with a major focus on diet. NAFLD happens to be linked to cardiovascular diseases, chronic kidney diseases, and many other conditions, making it vital for people to take care of liver.