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38% of Indians have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

38 percent of indians have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

A recent study by AIIMS states that over one-third of Indians suffer from Fatty Liver disease. Surprisingly, it’s not just the adults but also children who suffer from this disease.

Fatty liver disease, also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), has become a prevalent health issue in India. The condition occurs when excessive fat accumulates in the liver cells, affecting its normal function. There are several factors contributing to the high prevalence of this disease among Indians:


Factors Contributing to NAFLD

1. Sedentary Lifestyle: A significant proportion of the Indian population leads a sedentary lifestyle, characterized by a lack of physical activity and exercise. Sedentary behavior contributes to obesity and insulin resistance, which are risk factors for the disease.

2. Unhealthy Dietary Habits: Traditional Indian diets were primarily plant-based and healthier. However, with urbanization and changes in lifestyle, there has been a shift towards a diet rich in processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats. These dietary choices contribute to obesity and metabolic disorders, increasing the risk of NAFLD.

3. High Prevalence of Obesity and Diabetes

India is experiencing a rising epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Both conditions are strongly linked to the development of this disease. Obesity and diabetes disrupt the body’s insulin regulation, leading to increased fat deposition in the liver.

4. Genetic Predisposition: Certain genetic factors can make individuals more susceptible to NAFLD. Studies have shown that some Indian populations have a higher genetic predisposition to store fat in the liver, even in the absence of obesity or diabetes.

5. Insulin Resistance: Indians have a higher propensity for insulin resistance, which means their cells are less responsive to insulin’s effects. Insulin resistance is associated with the development of the disease as it leads to increased fat production and storage in the liver.

Other Factors Contributing to NAFLD:

6. Rapid Urbanization and Economic Growth: The rapid urbanization and economic growth in India have brought about lifestyle changes, including increased consumption of processed and high-calorie foods. These changes have contributed to the rise in obesity and NAFLD.

7. Lack of Awareness: Despite the increasing prevalence of fatty liver disease, there is still a lack of awareness about the condition among the general population. Many individuals may not be aware of the risk factors or the importance of early detection and lifestyle modifications.

8. Cultural and Social Factors: Cultural norms, such as the consumption of high-calorie, deep-fried foods during festivals and celebrations, can contribute to the development of fatty liver disease. Social factors, including a lack of access to healthy foods in some regions and limited awareness of healthy lifestyle practices, also play a role.

9. Healthcare Access and Diagnosis: Inadequate healthcare access in certain regions and limited awareness among healthcare providers about NAFLD may result in underdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, leading to a lack of timely intervention.

To address the growing burden of fatty liver disease in India, there is a need for comprehensive public health strategies. These should include:

Public Health Strategies:

Health Education and Awareness: Initiatives to raise awareness about the risk factors, symptoms, and consequences of fatty liver disease can encourage early detection and lifestyle modifications.

Promoting Healthy Lifestyles: Encouraging regular physical activity and a balanced diet can help combat obesity and insulin resistance, reducing the risk of the disease.

Screening and Early Diagnosis: Implementing screening programs for individuals at risk, such as those with obesity or diabetes, can aid in early diagnosis and prompt intervention.

Other strategies:

Healthcare Infrastructure Development: Improving healthcare infrastructure and access to medical facilities will enable early detection and management of fatty liver disease.

Research and Collaboration: Research into genetic and environmental factors contributing to fatty liver disease in the Indian population can provide valuable insights for targeted interventions.

By addressing these factors and adopting a multi-pronged approach, it is possible to mitigate the impact of fatty liver disease and improve the overall liver health of the Indian population.

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