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Liver diseases assume killer proportion in India?

Apr 19, 2017

Liver cancer is the fourth commonest cause of cancer in the world.

Mumbai: Contrary to the popular belief that alcohol is the common cause for silent liver diseases, non-alcoholic fatty liver triggered mostly by diabetes and obesity followed by chronic Viral Hepatitis B & C are proving to be far more dangerous, says a new study.

According to empirical data released by Mumbai based Ansh Liver Clinic, out of total number of 2930 cases analysed about 2000 were diagnosed with liver- related diseases at different stages of advancement.

The study revealed that non-alcoholic fatty liver topped the cause for chronic liver diseases with 32 per cent followed by Viral Hepatitis B & C with 8.9 per cent and 3 per cent respectively which is in contrast with alcoholic related liver diseases that are around 12.8 per cent of the total cases.

Elaborating on the study Dr Jayshri Shah, a leading liver diseases specialist & director of Ansh Liver Clinic said that liver cancer is the fourth commonest cause of cancer in the world. “Unfortunately, at presentation, majority of these cancers are at an advanced inoperable stage. Only 20 per cent can be offered a surgical cure including liver transplantation,” she said.

“These three conditions - non-alcoholic fatty liver, viral hepatitis B & C, and 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,” Dr Shah added.

The most worrying aspect that these statistics threw up is the fact that majority (60 per cent) of the patients were caught unaware about the liver diseases they were reeling under, with the nature of the disease being asymptomatic.

Another striking fact is the correlation between diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Unfortunately, diabetics are yet to include the liver function in their periodic check-up plan as much as they do for other organs.

Liver needs specialized attention and further tests such as Fibroscan, despite normal blood tests and Ultrasound. Fibroscan is a simple bedside test which allows early detection of fibrosis or liver damage without need for liver biopsy.

Ansh Liver Clinic has performed approximately 1300 Fibroscans and found significant fibrosis (Liver damage) in approximately 60 per cent patients who had no symptoms related to their liver condition. Just about 350 or 18 per cent of the patients had Liver cirrhosis, and only 25 per cent had symptoms due to complications of Cirrhosis.

The remaining 75 per cent of the patients had compensated cirrhosis without any symptoms and they were not even aware of their condition until investigated at the clinic. Approximately 20 patients which is around one percent were detected to have liver cancer, without any symptoms.

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