Millions of Filipinos are suffering from fatty liver. Are you one of them?

Published June 20, 2022, 12:29 PM

by Jerico Villamonte

The Hepatology Society of the Philippines breaks down facts about this silent epidemic

Did you know that at least 18 million Filipinos are either suffering or at risk of fatty liver disease? This is one of the alarming facts presented by the Hepatology Society of the Philippines (HSP) during its press conference titled, “Fatty Liver Facts: What You Need to Know About This Silent Epidemic.”

Every second Thursday this June, the International NASH Day (Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) Day) is celebrated and in line with this, the HSP hosted a press con to let the media understand what the disease is about and that they need help in spreading awareness about it. The doctors shared their expertise and recommendations on how we can all be aware of this disease and how we can avoid it.

“Fatty liver disease is a little-known, potentially fatal condition affecting many people,” noted Dr. Allan Policarpio, President of the Philippine Society of Gastroenterology. “The public can learn about it by listening to experts.”

Dr. Edhel S. Tripon

And this is what was shared during the event. We learned that there are two types of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The first one is non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and its more advanced type, the non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Although differentiated, these two types have main characteristics of too much fat stored in liver cells. It is said that having fat in the liver is normal but becomes a problem if more than five percent to ten percent of the liver’s weight is fat.

The doctors also mentioned who are prone to developing fatty liver during the press con. Dr. Edhel S. Tripon of HSP said that fatty liver is the fastest rising cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis worldwide and that people who are are overweight, diabetic, or hypertensive are prone to developing fatty liver.

HSP Vice President Dr. Wendell Z. Espinosa

So how do we lower the risk of developing this disease? HSP Vice President Dr. Wendell Z. Espinosa said “We need to raise awareness about how to avoid modifiable risk factors among adolescents and young adults. We need to increase the public’s awareness about nonalcoholic fatty liver disease which would likely lead to better prevention, early detection, and treatment of the disorder.”

For more information about Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, visit Hepatology Society of the Philippines website.