An excerpt from The Wall Street Journal, Fatty Liver Disease: More Prevalent in Children (also covered by this blog previously: Increasing prevalence of pediatric NAFLD | gutsandgrowth):
A type of liver disease once thought to afflict primarily adult alcoholics appears to be rampant in children.
Some 1 in 10 children in the U.S., or more than 7 million, are thought to have the disease, according to recent studies.
The condition, in which the normally rust-colored organ becomes bloated and discolored by yellowish fat cells, has become so common in non-drinkers that it has been dubbed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
The disease’s prevalence is alarming doctors who worry about its progression to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, when the fatty liver becomes inflamed and cells are damaged. That leads to the end stage of cirrhosis, when the liver forms scar tissue and ultimately stops working.
Some facts about nonalcoholic fatty liver disease:
- About 10% of children in the U.S. are thought to have the condition.
- Several factors likely contribute, including genetics, obesity, diet and insulin resistance.
- It has no detectable symptoms.
- Weight loss is the standard treatment for earlier stages of liver disease.
The condition’s rise is tied to the obesity epidemic—about 40% of obese children have it—but isn’t caused solely by being overweight. The disease appears to be growing among normal-weight children too, experts say.
And even though obesity rates are starting to level off, the prevalence of fatty liver disease continues to rise, they say.
It also has no symptoms, which means a person could have it for decades without knowing.
Related blog entries:
- NAFLD Guidelines 2012 | gutsandgrowth
- Eliminating sweetened beverages to help obesity | gutsandgrowth
- Lower leptin with physical activity | gutsandgrowth
- Could Cysteamine help NAFLD? | gutsandgrowth
- pediatric nafld position paper | gutsandgrowth
- Can NALFD be improved with bile acid … – gutsandgrowth – Blog
- A liver disease tsunami | gutsandgrowth