Very clearly, liver diseases are on the rise.
According to a recent study, 5000 to 10,000 people die every year in the state of Kerala due to liver diseases, compared to the national average of 70,000 while the National Institute of Health data shows that liver cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death by any disease in the country.
Earlier, people used to think that fatty liver is a condition mainly associated with alcohol consumption. Well, that does not seem to be correct anymore. Noted Gastro-enterologist, Dr. Philip Augustine says – the rate of non- alcoholic fatty liver is higher in Kerala while alcoholic liver ailment rate is only 35 per cent.
The main culprit behind the increase in liver diseases is believed to be the drastic changes in lifestyle and wrong food habits. Consumption of junk food, sugary drinks, less consumption of proteins, lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and lack of physical activity are playing out on the people’s health.
There is also a recent study that establishes links between a popular weedkiller – Roundup – and non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD), even at low doses.
Fatty liver is often found among people in the age group of 25 to 40 and if not addressed in time, it will progress to cirrhosis by the age of 50 to 65.
There is another myth prevalent among the public, that vegetarians are less vulnerable to fatty liver and other liver diseases. But doctors warn that vegans are in the high risk category for fatty liver.
Though fatty liver is common, it can be dangerous if not corrected as it will progress to complicated situations like fibrosis, cirrhosis and cancer. It is a broad spectrum of diseases which can be prevented in the early stage through proper diet and exercise. Now, research is on to develop new drugs to restore the damaged liver. High doses of vitamin E are now being given to cure fatty liver – Dr. Philip Augustine.
Normally liver does’nt warn you in advance even when it’s under strain. It continues to function – or struggles to maintain the speed – until it can’t go on anymore. When more than 80% of the damage is done, you’ll realize what has been going on. And it will be too late by then. So doctors suggest frequent checkups just to make sure things are ok.
- Dr. Philip Augustine, CEO, PVS Hospital, Kochi
- Dr. Mathew Jacob, consultant (Hepato Pancreato Biliary) and transplant surgeon, Aster Medcity, Kochi
- Dr. Byju Kundil, Chief liver transplant surgeon, Pariyaram Medical College, Kannur
- Dr. Prem Nair, Medical Director,Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kochi
Ayurveda/naturopathy vaidyas treating liver related conditions:
- Dr. Raghavan Ramankutty (Kanjoor,Kalady)
- Sukumaran Vaidyan (Trivandrum)
- Dr. Sahadevan C.D (Thodupuzha)
- Swami Gokuldas (Thrissur)
- Unni Vaidyar (Trivandrum)
- Vaidyaratnam Mathukutty Vaidyar, Enmakaje, Kasargod
- Kelu Vaidyar (Wayanad)
- Vellan Vaidyar (Wayanad)