India may become 'world capital of liver diseases'

Last Updated: Sat, Apr 19, 2014 13:10 hrs

New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) A sedentary lifestyle, increased alcohol consumption and obesity are contributing towards making India the "world capital of liver diseases" by 2025, a health expert said Saturday.

"Urbanisation and changes linked with it like sedentary lifestyle, fatty food, uncontrolled blood sugar, obesity, smoking and high alcohol intake is leading Indians towards higher incidence of fatty liver disease, that is Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease," Abhideep Choudhary, consultant surgeon of surgical gastrology and liver transplantation at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here, said at a press conference.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is now one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease. Some people with excess fat in the liver simply have what is called a "fatty liver". Although this is not normal, it is not serious if it does not lead to inflammation or damage.

Choudhary said these factors also increase the risk of Non Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), a common, often "silent" liver disease.

It resembles alcoholic liver disease but occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol. The major feature in NASH is fat in the liver, along with inflammation and damage.

NASH can lead to cancer if patients are not treated in time.

"Fatty liver and NASH have been found in all age groups, including children. However, it is more common between the age group of 40 to 49 years," he said.

Timely diagnosis of disease is even more important, otherwise it could develop into cancers, like those of the stomach, he said.

"If the diseases linked with fatty liver are timely diagnosed, then they can be treated with laparoscopy, minimal invasion surgery or robotic surgery," Choudhary said.

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