Liver disease as a risk of heart problems

24 Jan
2016
By Amelia Smith

There are several factors that pose a risk of heart problems, and liver disease is just one of them. A new study has established a link between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and obesity or heart disease.

The fatty liver problem is not new for us. This condition can cause cirrhosis, fibrosis, and heart failure in some cases. Sometimes, coronary artery disease is strongly associated with liver disease. Though congestive heart failure caused by acute liver failure is rarely documented, but its presence cannot be undermined. There are many clinical signs denoting the linkage between congestive heart failure and acute liver failure. The new study suggests that patients living with coronary artery disease should be screened for liver disease as it could be a potential risk factor.

Liver disease as a risk of heart problems

Study on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease:
In 2004, INTERHEART study came up with some new revelations on the link between heart disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Though the majority of cases of heart disease is still caused by various other risk factors, including high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, abnormal lipids, alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, etc. These causes directly affect the heart’s function and lead acute myocardial infarction (AMI), commonly known as heart attack. According to Dr. Yusuf, who led the INTERHEART study, these risk factors are the same in almost every geographic region and every racial/ethnic group worldwide and are consistent in men and women.

Prevalence of risks of heart problem:
The study found that cardiovascular disease-related mortality has come down in many developed countries, while developing countries still have a high number of risk factors for AMI. This condition may be due to lack of proper treatments for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and other risk factors in the poor and developing countries. The INTERHEART study conducted survey over 50 countries to analyze the associations between different risk factors and AMI. Researchers took a big population size from various geographical regions and ethnicity.

Risk factors vary:
The researchers during the INTERHEART study found a distinction in risk factors for heart disease. They divided various probable risk factors between conventional and emerging ones. For example, smoking, diabetes, high level of cholesterol and hypertension ware put under conventional risk factors, whereas homo-cysteine (a common amino acid found in the blood), glucose abnormalities, abdominal obesity and other nutritional and psychosocial factors are emerging or relatively new risk factors of heart disease. The impact of these conventional and new risk factors was also different for the people belonging to the particular ethnic and geographical backgrounds.

Confirmation on the linkage:
The study analyzed the thickness of the carotid arteries that confirmed the presence of one of three forms of chronic liver disease – non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (a kind of fatty liver disease, chronic Hepatitis B and chronic Hepatitis C.

Liver disease as a risk of heart problems

The newly discovered information established a relationship between the thickness of liver and heart diseases. The experts considered the thickness of carotid neck arteries as an indicator of early atherosclerosis as a potential risk of heart problems. Its intensity was lowest in healthy controls with an average value of 0.84, people with Hepatitis B showed as 0.97, Hepatitis C patients had 1.09, and maximum average value (1.23) was found in the people with a non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. The study clearly establishes the inter-connectivity between heart condition and liver health.

Treatments for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease:
There are many steps and remedies for keeping your body fit and immune to the various risk factors of liver disease. The maintenance of good blood circulation is very important to minimize liver problem and thereby reduce heart disease.

• Many health experts recommend for changes in lifestyle. Those who work on computer or laptop have to use only fingers and eyes, making other body muscles relatively inactive that invites the problem of liver thickness.

• You have to leave poor food habit. The processed or packaged foods and junk foods are nutritionally-devoid, so reduce their intake to curb extra body fat.

• Physical exercise and gym workout are the best solution to increase blood circulation and keep your liver healthy. More physical activity can better reduce the risk of heart problems.

• Apart from liver disease, there are 9 other risk factors accounting for more that 90 percent of the risk of AMI, so you have to take solution to avoid those factors too.

• Healthy and balanced foods are always essential to keep your body fit, and the health of the liver also improves with nutritious diet.

Conclusion:
The INTERHEART study has revealed the linkage between the fatty liver problem and heart disease, so you have to be careful about your liver health, apart from other factors posing risk of heart problem. In most cases, the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease remains invisible unless it reaches the acute level. Timely liver screening and healthy lifestyle can reduce these risk factors to a great extent.

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Amelia Smith

Nutritionist, herbalist, health and medicine writer and yoga enthusiast, Amelia Smith, is a professional in the health, nutrition and diet industry.

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