Some 40% of Iranians above 40 years old suffering from fatty liver: expert

July 19, 2019

TEHRAN – Between 35 to 40 percent of Iranians above 40 years old is suffering from hepatic steatosis or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), Amir Anoushirvani, the secretary of World Hepatitis Day congress said, Mehr reported on Monday.

The liver normally contains some fat; an individual is considered to have a fatty liver (hepatic steatosis) if the liver contains more than 5 to 10 percent fat. Despite its dangerous side effects, there are no warning signs and symptoms in the early stages.

As an important non-communicable disease, the NAFLD is caused by an unhealthy diet containing extra carbohydrates and fast foods, he explained.

He pointed to overeating and lack of physical activity as the two other important factors that lead to NAFLD disease, adding, the disease is cured in 50 percent of cases with a healthy diet and physical activity.

NAFLD can lead to liver failure and stroke and as a metabolic syndrome it is related to diabetes and abdominal obesity, he concluded.

In February 2019, deputy health minister Baqer Larijani announced that the prevalence of insufficient physical activity is about 57 percent in Iran.

World Hepatitis Day, observed on July 28 every year, aims to raise global awareness of hepatitis — a group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E — and encourage prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Hepatic steatosis or NAFLD

According to Genetics Home website, hepatic steatosis is a buildup of excess fat in the liver that can lead to liver damage resembling the damage caused by alcohol abuse, but that occurs in people who do not drink heavily. The liver is a part of the digestive system that helps break down food, store energy, and remove waste products, including toxins.

The fat deposits in the liver associated with NAFLD usually cause no symptoms, although they may cause increased levels of liver enzymes that are detected in routine blood tests. Some affected individuals have abdominal pain or fatigue. During a physical examination, the liver may be found to be slightly enlarged.

NAFLD is a very common disorder, occurring in about 25 percent of the global population. Its prevalence is increasing along with the rising prevalence of obesity in industrialized societies, and it is now the most common chronic liver disorder in Western countries, including the United States. NAFLD is more prevalent in individuals of Hispanic, Native American, or Asian than in individuals of European or African.

SB/MG

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