At least 18 million Filipinos are either suffering from or at risk of a disease considered a silent epidemic – that of fatty liver.
“Fatty liver disease is a little-known, potentially fatal condition affecting many people,” said Dr. Allan
Policarpio, president of the Philippine Society of Gastroenterology during the online discussion “Fatty Liver Facts: What You Need to Know About This Silent Epidemic” organized by the Hepatology Society of the Philippines (HSP).
There are two types of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) — non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and its more advanced type, the non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
The main characteristic of both is that too much fat is stored in liver cells – at about more than 5% to 10% percent of the liver’s weight.
Dr. Edhel S. Tripon of HSP said fatty liver is the fastest rising cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis worldwide.
“People who are overweight, diabetic, or hypertensive are prone to developing fatty liver,” Tripon said.
“The liver is a multitasking hard worker, so it is important to keep this organ as healthy as possible. A healthy liver is fundamental to wellness,” he added.
The Philippines has over 18 million obese and overweight people who are susceptible to NAFLD, said Dr. Diana Alcantara-Payawal, president of the Philippine College of Physicians.
“Some of them may already have fatty liver disease but are unaware of it,” she added.
To lower the risk of developing fatty liver disease, HSP vice president Dr. Wendell Espinosa said:
“We need to raise awareness about how to avoid modifiable risk factors among adolescents and young adults. We need to increase the public’s awareness about nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which would likely lead to better prevention, early detection, and treatment of the disorder.”
To know more about Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, visit https://hsp.org.ph/