Fatty Liver Disease, A Silent Epidemic, Puts Millions Of Filipinos At Risk

June 15, 2022

News & Lifestyle section of Dad On The Move Family Travel Blog.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s not forget that our objective should be to maintain overall health and wellness. That means taking care of not just our respiratory system but our other major organs as well, such as our liver.

Hepatology Society of the Philippines

Fatty Liver Disease, A Silent Epidemic, Puts Millions Of Filipinos At Risk 

In fact, according to the Hepatology Society of the Philippines (HSP), at least 18 million Filipinos are either suffering from or at risk of fatty liver disease, considered a silent epidemic.

This is one of the alarming pieces of information presented in the recent online press conference entitled "Fatty Liver Facts: What You Need to Know About This Silent Epidemic” organized by the HSP.

Fatty liver disease affects millions around the world. It has no symptoms at the early stages, which is why many people are unaware that they have it until it’s too late.

Dr. Allan Policarpio
Dr. Allan Policarpio

“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.”

There are two types of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) — nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and its more advanced type, the nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The main characteristic of both is too much fat stored in liver cells. Having small amounts of fat in the liver is normal, but it becomes a problem if more than 5% to 10% percent of the liver’s weight is fat.

Dr. Edhel S. Tripon
Dr. Edhel Tripon

Dr. Edhel S. Tripon of HSP stated that fatty liver is the fastest rising cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis worldwide. "People who are overweight, diabetic, or hypertensive are prone to developing fatty liver.”

Dr. Diana Alcantara-Payawal
Dr. Diana Alcantara-Payawal

The Philippines has over 18 million obese and overweight people. They are all susceptible to NAFLD, noted Dr. Diana Alcantara-Payawal, President of the Philippine College of Physicians. “Some of them may already have fatty liver disease but are unaware of it,” she added.

Dr. Tripon stressed the importance of keeping the liver healthy. “The liver is a multitasking hard worker, so it is important to keep this organ as healthy as possible. A healthy liver is fundamental to wellness.”

Dr. Wendell Z. Espinosa
Dr. Wendell Espinosa

To lower the risk of developing fatty liver 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.”

The Hepatology Society of the Philippines is the lead organization in the study and care of liver health and disease among Filipinos. 

HSP provides research, education, and advocacy on liver health and liver-related diseases. Part of its mission is to share information, services, and expertise with the global community towards the prevention and treatment of liver diseases.
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