Alcohol is not the only cause for Fatty Liver – Dr Ankur Garg
Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is on the rise in India due to the consumption of Fat rich diet and lethargic lifestyle. Many people still associate fatty liver with the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol is still the main reason for fatty liver but not the exclusive reason. Many women and kids are coming with fatty liver disease. The number of cases of Alcoholic fatty liver are highly underreported as many people who consume alcohol are scared of getting an ultrasound done. Normal ultrasound of the abdomen is good enough to diagnose a fatty liver. Many of these patients report to the hospital when the fatty liver has turned into Liver Cirrhosis. Those who consume alcohol regularly and take more than 5-6 drinks a day are more likely to report fatty liver. Alcohol consumption coupled with absence of physical exercise is the main reason behind fatty liver. If a person is doing regular aerobic exercise for atleast one hour everyday and consuming less than 4 drinks a day, then the chances of Liver Cirrhosis is low.
Diet also plays a very important role in the health of your liver. Those who take alcohol regularly are well advised to consume 2-3 kgs of fruits and raw vegetables everyday. Liver is the only organ in the body which has the capacity to heal itself. It is therefore extremely important to get an early diagnosis of the disease. Every person who is consuming alcohol must get an ultrasound of the abdomen done once a year to check the health of the liver.
Fatty Liver Grade 1 or 2 as diagnosed on the ultrasound can be reversed by diet modifications and incorporating exercise into your daily routine. If you have been diagnosed with Fatty Liver of any grade then you must consult a physician or a Liver Specialist who can prescribe you the right treatment. Moderating your alcohol consumption and changing your diet will go a long way in healing your liver. With the right kind of treatment, fatty liver can become normal in 3-4 months time.
One must remember that once the fatty liver progresses to Liver Cirrhosis then you may not be able to reverse it with any medication or life style changes. Liver Transplant Surgery might become your only option to stay alive. India is currently doing only around 2500 Liver Transplant Surgeries due to low numbers of Cadaveric Transplant. Most of the Liver Transplant Surgeries in India are done when a relative of the patient donates the liver. This type of surgery is called Living Donor Liver Transplant. Liver transplant surgery is being done at 20-25 hospitals in India and the cost of the surgery is in the range of Rs. 18-30 Lacs. The high cost of the surgery and the difficulty in finding a matching donor are both responsible for the low number of Liver Transplant Surgeries. So take care of your liver. Moderate your consumption of alcohol and get regular testing done.
Dr Ankur Garg is the Director at LivCure – Liver Transplant and GI Cancer Surgery Centre, India.