The number of patients with various liver diseases are on the rise. Some of them are related to the lifestyle, some with metabolic syndrome and other factors. However, having a proper knowledge of these diseases are important.
Recently, we talked about different disease of the hepatobiliary system, the cancer of liver and liver transplant with Dr Desmond Wai, Senior Consultant, Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, Singapore. His clinical interests include transplant hepatology and gastroenterology. He had received numerous awards.
Liver disease can be inherited (genetic) or caused by a variety of factors that damage the liver, such as viruses and alcohol use. Obesity is also associated with liver damage.
Over time, damage to the liver results in scarring (cirrhosis), which can lead to liver failure, a life-threatening condition.
Dr Desmond informed that almost half of the population in Bangladesh are suffering from fatty liver. This disease is going to be the most common liver disease in coming years.
Fatty liver is also known as hepatic steatosis. It happens when fat builds up in the liver. Having small amounts of fat in the liver is normal, but too much can become a health problem.
Liver is the second largest organ in our body. It helps process nutrients from food and drinks and filters harmful substances from your blood.
Too much fat in your liver can cause liver inflammation, which can damage the liver and create scarring. In severe cases, this scarring can lead to liver failure.
When fatty liver develops in someone who drinks a lot of alcohol, it is known as alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD).
In someone who does not drink a lot of alcohol, it is known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Fatty liver disease is a slowly progressive disease. The patinets are usually obese, have high cholesterol, high triglyceride, high sugar and hypertension. But if the patients do not control their diet, ultimately all the risk factors become an individual problem. In a sense, fatty liver could be considered as the early sign of liver problems.
We are fortunate that alcoholic fatty liver is not so common among Bangladeshi population due to religious culture. But Dr Desmond criticised the carbohydrate-based food habit and he underscored on the change of food habit and timing of food.
Apart from fatty liver disease, hepatitis is common in Bangladeshi population. But if people are vaccinated, hepatities can be prevented very effectively. Hygiene can play a big role to keep some waterborne hepatitis away.
Talking about liver cancer, he said that it is a common among all the cancers. Recent development in immunotherapy healps liver cancer patients a lot in addition to chemo and radiotherapy.
Living donor liver transplants show promises, but choosing the patients for transplant is very crucial, informed Dr Way. If the patient can survive the initial period following the transplant surgery, then the survival rate if very good. Unlike kidney transplant, graft tissue rejection is not a big problem for liver transplant, because liver is a very tolerant organ. With the development of immunosuppressant drugs, it is very easy now a days to keep the patients out of danger from tissue rejection.
But if we can take care of our liver by healthy lifestyle methods, that would be the best way to deal with the diseases.