Liver Health: Is your Liver getting fat?

Armen Hareyan's picture
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(NC) - Obesity epidemic is now the number one health concern in a country like Canada. Yet while we often hear how obesity can lead to heart disease, diabetes and other health problems, no one is talking about how it affects the liver.

While rarely discussed outside the medical community, fatty liver disease is now the most common form of liver disease in Canada.

One in seven Canadians are obese, and an estimated 75 per cent of obese Canadians have excess fat in their liver. Twenty-three per cent of obese Canadians are at risk of developing serious liver damage from fatty liver disease.

Fatty liver disease is caused by the accumulation of fat in liver cells. The greater the percentage of fat in the liver, the greater the risk of developing liver inflammation, fibrosis or cirrhosis (moderate or severe scarring of the liver). In addition to obesity, fatty liver disease has also been linked to other risk factors, including insulin resistance, hyperlipidaemia, high blood pressure, and Type II diabetes.

For adults with a body mass index more than 30, the odds of developing fatty liver disease are greatly increased. Even children are not immune. Fatty liver disease has been seen in children as young as four years of age.

While fatty liver disease can often be reversed through gradual weight loss, prevention remains the best approach for Canadians. To keep your liver from getting fat, here are a few tips:

  • If you are overweight, strive for a gradual and sustained weight loss through proper nutrition and exercise.

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  • Eat a well-balanced diet that is low in saturated fats and high in fibre.

  • Introduce exercise into your routine, at least four times a week.

  • Avoid alcohol.

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For more information on liver health or fatty liver disease, contact the Canadian Liver Foundation at 1-800-563-5483, visit www.liver.ca or contact your local chapter.

- News Canada

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