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Posted at: Jun 12, 2019, 7:01 AM; last updated: Jun 12, 2019, 7:01 AM (IST)INT’L NASH DAY

Non-alcoholic liver disease a cause of worry: Doctor

Non-alcoholic liver disease a cause of worry: Doctor

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a severe form of fatty liver which occurs in nearly 15-20 per cent of patients who have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), says Dr Ajay Duseja, Professor, Department of Hepatology, PGIMER.

NAFLD is the most common liver disease the world over and occurs in patients who do not consume alcohol or take it in insignificant amounts, but have risk factors like overweight or obesity, diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar), hypertension (high blood pressure) or dyslipidemia (abnormal blood lipids).

In fact, NAFLD is a lifestyle disease which is taking the shape of an epidemic affecting approximately 25-30 per cent of general population; with higher prevalence in those with risk factors enumerated above.

According to the published data, the prevalence of NAFLD in urban India varies from 16-32 per cent. In a recent study published by the PGIMER, prevalence of NAFLD in healthy male blood donors was as high as 53 per cent, said Dr Duseja.

“Sedentary lifestyle lead on to overweight and obesity and excess of fat accumulation in the body which gets re-distributed to other organs with liver being the favourite site leading on to fatty liver. Excess fat in the liver (fatty liver) in some patients lead on to inflammation (swelling) and fibrosis (scarring) in the liver which is technically called NASH,” he added.

Unlike patients with only fatty liver, NASH is a progressive disease which can damage the liver by causing cirrhosis liver and liver cancer and will soon become the most common indication for liver transplantation.

In fact, NAFLD or NASH can be silent disease in many patients and come to attention only when it has taken the shape of a serious disease like cirrhosis or liver cancer. Initially stages of fatty liver are usually asymptomatic and patients usually come to attention while being worked for abdominal pain or other symptoms or while evaluation for rise in liver enzymes or during executive check-up, explains Dr Duseja.

Since NAFLD and NASH are relatively new disease entities related to lifestyle, it is important to make the general public aware about these diseases which are silent to begin with but can damage the liver in long run if not picked up early. “Observing International NASH Day on June 12 is a step in that direction,” said Dr Duseja. 

lifestyle disease

NAFLD is a lifestyle disease which is taking the shape of an epidemic affecting approximately 25-30 per cent of general population. According to the published data, the prevalence of NAFLD in urban India varies from 16-32 per cent. In a recent study published by the PGIMER, prevalence of NAFLD in healthy male blood donors was as high as 53 per cent. 


Obesity and excess of fat accumulation in the body gets re-distributed to other organs with liver being the favourite site leading on to fatty liver. Excess fat in the liver in some patients lead on to inflammation and fibrosis in the liver which is called NASH.— Dr Ajay Duseja, PGIMER

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