View Full Version : Obesity Main Cause of Liver Desease

06-27-2007, 12:34 AM
An interesting article I read in a New Scientist Magazine.
I found it of some suprise. I know a lot of alchohaulics and I would often pride myself in the fact that my liver was safe from doom...
The biggest thing I took from this article is simply, when I stop being being incredibly active, I'm going to stop eating incredible amounts of food.


Pete had a truly awful Christmas. A few weeks earlier he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and the news was still sinking in while all around him the alcohol-fuelled festivities were in full swing. "I don't even drink," he told the specialist incredulously when given the diagnosis. Surely only hardened alcoholics get cirrhosis?

In November, feeling tired and washed-out, he had gone to see his doctor. Apart from being overweight he seemed to be in good health. Yet blood tests indicated he was anaemic and an endoscopy revealed a burst blood vessel in his gullet, a sign of cirrhosis, the final stage of liver disease. Weeks later Pete's abdomen swelled alarmingly as it filled with fluid - another sign - and a liver biopsy confirmed the diagnosis. He was only 35.

Being told you have liver disease always comes as a huge shock. "It's almost a grief reaction you see in people, because of the stigma," says David Jones of the Freeman Hospital liver unit in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, who is treating Pete (not his real name). "But there are over a hundred causes of liver disease that aren't alcohol-related. That's just the stereotype. It's not even the commonest we see any more."

In the coming decades, more and more of us are likely to receive the same bad news as Pete. As many as 1 in 10 may already have liver disease, in many cases without realising it. While most people know liver disease can be caused by drinking too much or by infection with a hepatitis virus, few realise that simply being a bit overweight can also damage your liver - and due to the rising tide of obesity in affluent countries, this is set to become a huge problem. It has already overtaken alcohol and viral infections as the main cause of liver disease.

The good news is that the liver's powers of regeneration are even greater than we thought. Most people with fatty liver disease could turn things around just by changing their lifestyle.