Your weight could be a factor in liver disease, study says
If you are overweight and consume large quantities of alcohol, you may be at a greater risk for developing severe liver problems, new research says.
A study from the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), saw a higher risk of liver cancer in overweight people with alcoholic cirrhosis – excessive damage to liver tissue from alcohol abuse.
Researchers examined 100 people who had undergone a liver transplant due to end-stage liver disease from excessive alcoholic intake. Liver cancer appeared in more than half of those who were overweight and 43 percent in those who had diabetes.
At least 50 percent of those studied with diagnosed with fatty liver disease, were also overweight or had Type 2 diabetes.
“These findings show patients suffering from alcoholic cirrhosis who also have a history of fatty liver disease, obesity or Type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of developing liver cancer,” said lead researcher, Dr. Daniele Prati, in an online statement. “This information will be useful in helping to improve the management of patients with cirrhosis, and to identify cancer at early stages.”
Dr. Prati and her team recently presented their findings at the 2013 International Liver Congress before they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Although the results did not find a direct cause and effect between weight and alcohol consumption, the results did show a strong link between obesity, heavy drinking and liver disease. The study noted that more research needs to be done.
“Many people may not know that obesity itself causes stress on the liver,” Dr. Yapp says. “So for an overweight person and the addition of high amounts of alcohol toxins, the liver has much more pressure on it.”
Dr. Yapp says the important thing to remember is that some of the risk factors can be changed. He recommends working with your physician on ways to help reduce your weight and monitor alcohol consumption.
“Changing these factors can significantly reduce the risk for liver disease and related medical problems,” he says.
About the Author
Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Aurora Health. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.