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: Overwhelmed west Africa ramps up Ebola response

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

Spain: Ebola test drug out of supply worldwide

20 minutes ago

Doctors treating a Spanish priest who was repatriated from West Africa on Monday after being diagnosed with the Ebola virus said there were no samples of experimental drug ZMapp available in the world right ...

A multiscale approach to Ebola response

2 hours ago

The Ebola outbreak in western Africa continues to spread uncontrolled, affecting thus far five countries. On September 16th, President Obama spoke at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters ...

Overwhelmed west Africa ramps up Ebola response

16 hours ago

West Africa intensified its response to the deadly Ebola epidemic on Sunday, with Sierra Leone uncovering scores of dead bodies during a 72-hour shutdown and Liberia announcing hundreds of new hospital beds.

Sierra Leone reaches final day of Ebola lockdown

20 hours ago

Frustrated residents complained of food shortages in some neighborhoods of Sierra Leone's capital on Sunday as the country reached the third and final day of a sweeping, unprecedented lockdown designed to ...

User comments : 0