Fatty liver disease can lead to heart attack

Apr 19, 2011

Because of the prevalence of obesity in our country, many Americans are expected to develop a serious condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which can lead to cirrhosis, fibrosis, and in some cases liver failure. It is also one of the best predictors for coronary artery disease.

"Most people who have are more likely to die from a heart attack than cirrhosis of the liver," said Dr. Howard Monsour, chief of Hepatology at The Methodist Hospital in Houston. "I ask all my patients, especially those over 50, if they have had a stress test in the last year; if not then I send them to the cardiologist to get one."

NAFLD is fat inside the . Alcohol, drugs, obesity, lipid disorders and diabetes can all be causes. However, many with this condition suffer from Metabolic Syndrome, a constellation of factors which include a large (men greater than 40 inches, women greater than 35 inches), high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels and that heighten the risk of heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

"Data has shown that nearly 30 million Americans have NAFLD. Many times it is missed until the person's liver enzyme levels are high," said Dr. Kathleen Wyne, director of clinical research for the Diabetes Research Center at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute (TMHRI). "Much like type 2 diabetes, it can be cured with diet and exercise."

"Vigorous exercise, such as weight lifting, swimming, running or aerobics, between 75 and 150 minutes a week with a heart rate of 120 or above will help you tackle this problem," Monsour said. "If you lose 12 percent of your current weight, no matter how much you weigh, you can also eliminate fat from your liver."

Between five and 20 percent of people with fatty liver will develop serious liver disease. Developing cirrhosis, fibrosis or depends on whether the person has inflammation in the liver caused by the fat resulting in an inflammatory response called steatohepatitis. This often, but not always, causes liver enzyme elevation on routine blood tests.

"The key is to catch it early. If we do, we can help the patient avoid cirrhosis, fibrosis and type 2 diabetes," Monsour said. "Letting it go without evaluation can lead to liver disease, liver cancer, stroke, heart disease and a very difficult life."

Explore further: Lessons from the 'Spanish flu,' nearly 100 years later

Provided by Methodist Hospital System

2 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fatty liver may herald impending type 2 diabetes

Feb 24, 2011

A recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) found that individuals with fatty liver were five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than t ...

Recommended for you

Sri Lanka celebrates two years without malaria

3 hours ago

Sri Lanka has not reported a local case of malaria since October 2012, according to the Sri Lankan Anti-Malarial Campaign. If it can remain malaria-free for one more year, the country will be eligible to apply to the World ...

Poll: Many doubt hospitals can handle Ebola

7 hours ago

A new poll finds most Americans have some confidence that the U.S. health care system will prevent Ebola from spreading in this country, but they're not so sure their local hospital can safely handle a patient.

Number of Ebola cases nears 10,000

7 hours ago

The number of people with Ebola is set to hit 10,000 in West Africa, the World Health Organization said, as the scramble to find a cure gathered pace.

User comments : 0