WATCH YOUR WAISTLINE TO AVOID NON-ALCOHOLIC STEATO-HEPATITIS

Times of India, Bangalore, April 19, 2012
BANGALORE: 102 and 88 – those are key waist measurements (in centimeters) for men and women if you want to avoid Non-Alcoholic Steato Hepatitis (NASH) aka fatty liver.

For a long time, excess consumption of alcohol was considered the root cause of a damaged liver. But even teetotalers who are overweight with high abdominal obesity or waist circumference can suffer from liver disease, say hepatologists and liver surgeons.

Fatty liver (non-alcoholic) usually develops in people who have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides. Poor eating habits with a diet rich in fats and fructose may also lead to this condition. Fatty liver affects up to 10% of the urban population.

“NASH is commonly seen in people above 40 years but in urban India, due to rise in obesity and diabetes, there are more cases among young men, women and children. NASH may affect a person even if a person is not overweight but has a thick waist,” said Dr Kaiser Raja, Consultant Hepatologist, BGS Global Hospitals. Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is very common in India. NASH is the most extreme form of NAFLD. About 50% of urban Indian population is said to be affected by NAFLD, but less than 10% end up developing NASH.

NASH is a silent killer because there are no visible symptoms and can affect a person who does not even consume alcohol. The only proven medication is exercise and consumption of low calorie diet and inclusion of Vitamin E.