HEPATIC DISEASES TEND TO BE EPIDEMIC
Increasingly, liver diseases develop into a popular disease: Non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL). In the meanwhile, almost one in three Germans is affected, and 42% of people over the age of 53. Not to miss, we have already a liver fattening with more than 10% overweight children! We know that about 75% of overweight children and up to 80% of type 2 diabetics have developed fatty liver. However, slim people are also affected and can have fatty liver.
The liver is our central metabolic organ in the utilization and storage of food. However, it also synthesises important proteins and coagulation factors, making it our most important detoxification organ for the metabolism. Non-alcoholic fatty liver is considered a hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome and NAFL is often associated with insulin resistance, which in turn promotes the progression of fatty liver disease. Patients with fatty liver thus carry an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
PROGRESSIVE FATTY DEGENERATION OF LIVER CELLS
With increasing fatty degeneration of the liver cells and triggered by toxic lipid metabolites, steatohepatitis develops, an inflammation that leads to tissue destruction and chronic reparation processes leading to a fibrotic remodeling of the liver parenchyma.
CAUSES OF LIVER DISEASE
The process at an early stage can vary into regression back to fatty liver, but with further inflammatory progression to irreversible cirrhosis, which unfortunately can degenerate malignantly: about 1-2% of cirrhosis patients develop primary hepatocellular carcinoma every year.
The most common causes of liver disease include infections with the pathogens hepatitis viruses A to E. Other viruses as well as excessive alcohol consumption, medication and infections with parasites or other pathogens are also possible causes of liver inflammation.
However, liver fibrosis can also have other causes:
This may be by chronic effects of toxins on the liver, especially through alcohol abuse, prolonged cholestasis, α1 antitrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis; liver congestion, chronic congestion hepatitis (e.g. right heart failure); Virus hepatitis (in Africa /Asia hepatitis B/C is mostly the cause).