Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease spreads tentacles in state: Study

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is becoming increasingly prevalent in the hilly areas with a study on 500 residents from Solan, Sirmaur, Shimla, Bilaspur and Kinnaur districts showing its high incidence.

Dr Sanjay Aggarwal, a Solan-based laproscopic gastro surgeon from a local hospital, who conducted the study said: "One third of the patients were from urban areas and the rest from rural areas. It was found that people who were not consuming alcohol also suffered from various stages of fatty liver."

Causes of fatty liver

Main causes of the fatty liver are physical in-activity and poor dietary habits, which include a high fat intake, presence of predisposing conditions like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac and neurological diseases.
The disease had little relation to age though it was found more in the elderly.
Elaborating upon the study, Dr Aggarwal said the survey was conducted on 541 persons. As many as 70 of the 220 persons residing in urban areas had NAFLD while out of 321 rural residents, 78 had NAFLD.

He said, "The first stage of fatty liver is a pathological finding, in which the cells of liver have a higher percentage of fat. The second stage involves inflammation of the liver and a bit of fibrosis develops in the liver tissue in the third stage."

The fourth and most critical stage includes cirrhosis in which the patient starts having swelling in the body and also experiencing symptoms like loss of weight, loss of appetite, upper gastrointestinal bleeding and other signs similar to an alcoholic liver disease."

Dr Aggarwal said the main criterion to detect the disease was an ultrasound of the liver. It was found that the prevalence of fatty liver was more in the families consuming more vegetable oil. "More than 3 to 4 litres of vegetable oil consumption in a family of four in a month invites risk," the doctor said.

The disease had little relation to age though it was found more in the elderly. It was equally prevalent among males and females. It was, however, found that people involved in hard manual work had lesser incidences of the disease. Also, if alcohol was consumed, the progression of fatty liver to the extreme stage was seen.

"A random analysis, revealed that about 50 per cent of individuals having this condition were in stage one. About 35 per cent of persons from urban areas had the disease while the rural population had a lesser incidence," observed Dr Aggarwal.

He also stressed on the need for regular physical activity for at least 30 to 45 minutes with vigorous exercise, yoga or meditation to prevent the disease.

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