Exercise, proper diet help prevent fatty liver disease

EXERCISE and a proper diet can help prevent fatty liver disease, Dr. Wendell Espinosa, president of the Hepatology Association of the Philippines and fellow of the Philippine College of Physicians, said.

“For patients with non-complex fatty liver disease, lifestyle management like exercise will do. With regards to the food, we advocate a hypocaloric diet. This means that the patients should consume lesser food than the usual,” Espinosa said in a forum on Saturday.

While there are no particular food that can cause fatty liver, he said the quantity of the food that an individual takes can be the risk factor.

At least 150 minutes of exercise per week, a Mediterranean diet and healthy consumption of food are crucial things to the management and control of the disease.

The liver has a lot of functions, one of which is to provide protein for the body. It also detoxifies bad elements, regulates chemical levels in the blood, and excretes bile so other internal organs can function well.

Espinosa said that the most common type of fatty liver disease is metabolic-associated, or when more than 5 percent of the liver accumulates fats.

“I think we just need to be prepared to prevent complications. Patients with fatty liver disease, especially those [who are] obese, or those diabetic, hypertensive and with high cholesterol, they have 20-30 percent chance to develop severe form of fatty liver, which is the steatohepatitis,” he said.

He added that about 40 percent of these patients may also develop cirrhosis that may lead to complications due to the inflammation and scarring of the liver.

“One of the things we can do to manage this disease is to control those comorbidities or other associated diseases. For example, if you have hypertension, control your hypertension,” he added.

This disease may also be manifested to other organs, which can be a risk factor of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, according to Espinosa.

Data from the National Library of Medicine showed that the global incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is 47 cases per 1,000 population, which is higher among males.

The estimated prevalence has increased from 26 percent in 2005 to 38 percent in 2016. It is projected to increase by 1 to 6 percent in 2030.

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