Contrary to the popular belief that alcohol is the commonest cause for silent liver diseases, non-alcoholic fatty liver (triggered largely by Diabetes and Obesity) is proving to be far more lethal, according to empirical data released by Ansh Liver Clinic, Mumbai.
Out of total number of 2930 cases analysed at Ansh Liver Clinic, about 2000 were diagnosed with liver- related diseases at different stages of advancement.
It was found in the study that non-alcoholic fatty liver topped the cause for chronic liver diseases (32%) followed by alcoholic related liver diseases (12.8%), Viral Hepatitis B & C (8.9% & 3 % respectively)
Elaborating on the study Dr. Jayshri Shah, a leading liver disease specialist &director of Ansh Liver Clinic says, “These three conditions – non-alcoholic fatty liver, viral hepatitis B & C & alcohol related liver diseases – are triple ticking time bomb as they are asymptomatic until the patient reaches the advanced stage of decompensation and develops palpable symptoms. If left untreated, these conditions could lead to life-threatening complications like cirrhosis and liver cancer.”
The most worrying aspect that thesestatistics threw up is the fact that majority (60%) of the patients were caught unaware about the liver diseases they were reeling under, with the nature of the disease being asymptomatic. Another fact that comes out from this study is the high correlation between diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Unfortunately, diabetics are yet to include a detailed liver assessment in their periodic checkup plan, as much as they do for other organs.
Traditionally Liver health has been assessed with liver function blood tests and ultrasound. However, one can have significant liver disease despite these tests being normal. Liver needs specialized tests such as Fibroscan , which is a simple bedside procedure which allows early detection of fibrosis (liver damage ) and liver fat content , without need for liver biopsy. Ansh Liver Clinic has performed 1300Fibroscans and found significant fibrosis ( Liver damage ) in approximately 60% of patients who had no symptoms related to their liver condition . Almost 350( 18%) patients had Liver cirrhosis , only 88 patients had symptoms due to complications of Cirrhosis . The remaining 262 patients had compensated cirrhosis without any symptoms Sadly, these patients were not even aware of their condition until investigated at the clinic. Approximately 20 patients( 1%) were detected to have liver cancer, without any symptoms. Dr. Ankur Shah-Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary & Liver Transplant surgeon and Co-Director of Ansh Liver clinic cited that, “Liver cancer is the 4th commonest cause of cancer in the world. Unfortunately , at presentation, majority of these cancers are at an advanced inoperable stage; only 20% can be offered a surgical cure including liver transplantation.