The Doctors discuss NASH, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, the leading cause of liver cancer which affects an estimated 16 million Americans.
Gastroenterologist Dr. Jorge Rodriguez explains that our diets and lifestyle are harming our livers. He equates it to foie gras – the French delicacy made by force-feeding geese to the point where they die and their liver becomes buttery and creamy. He says that is basically what we are doing to our own livers when we get heavier.
The liver is not supposed to hold fat but rather glycogen, a form of sugar, which it releases when needed. If you eat too much that your liver stores fat, it will start scaring. That scaring will eventually kill the liver and turn into cirrhosis.
Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra asks if there is anything people can do asides from watching their diet and weight. Dr. Rodriguez says there are currently one-pill-a-day trials but this is a whole new class of drugs. The drugs need to disintegrate fat in the liver without harming the rest of the body’s fat. Until the technology is available, Dr. Rodriguez says people need to carefully watch their cholesterol. He advises people who are already at risk to watch their alcohol intake and even their use of acetaminophen.