Liver Disease May Raise Risk of Heart Problems: Study06/24/13
MONDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- A new study adds to growing
evidence of a link between a common liver disease associated with
obesity and high risk for heart disease.
People with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease have an
accumulation of fat in the liver that is not caused by drinking
alcohol. The fat can cause inflammation and scarring in the liver
and progress to life-threatening illness.
The new findings "suggest that patients with coronary artery
disease should be screened for liver disease, and likewise
[patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease] should be
evaluated for coronary artery disease," said Dr. Rajiv Chhabra, a
gastroenterologist at Saint Luke's Health System's Liver Disease
Management Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Researchers looked at upper-abdominal CT scans of nearly 400
patients and found that those with non-alcoholic fatty liver
disease were more likely to have coronary artery disease. The
effect of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease was stronger than other
more traditional risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking,
high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome
and being male.
Chhabra conducted the study with a colleague, Dr. John Helzberg.
Their findings were presented at the American Gastroenterological
Association's recent annual meeting.
Current treatments for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease include
diet changes, exercise and increased monitoring.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common liver
disorder in Western countries, and is of growing concern among
doctors due to rising rates of obesity and diabetes.
"If current trends continue, the prevalence of [non-alcoholic fatty liver disease] is expected to increase to 40 percent of the population by 2020," Helzberg said in a Saint Luke's Health System news release.
Data and conclusions presented at meetings should be considered
preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The American Liver Foundation has more about
non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
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