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Prof (Dr) Dipankar Bhowmik and Prof (Dr) Shiv Kumar Sarin

Manage fatty liver to prevent kidney diseases: Experts

Reducing or preventing excess fat deposition in the liver can also prevent chronic kidney diseases, which affect around 10% of the country's adult population, renowned Indian gastroenterologist and Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Prof (Dr) Shiv Kumar Sarin says.

Speaking to Drug Today Medical Times on the occasion of education program of World Kidney Day organised by Delhi-AIIMS, Prof Sarin said, “Recently on World Obesity Day, we talked about obesity and its complications. Today I will strive to make people understand what obesity can do to the body in an easy language.”

“If you go for a blood test and learn that your cholesterol and triglycerides have increased, you start taking medicine to manage them. Similarly, people take medicines to manage blood pressure and blood sugar levels. However, has anyone ever spared a thought as to how they developed diabetes and high blood pressure in the first place?” Prof Sarin asked.

Prof Sarin said, “In simple terms, first fat deposits in the liver and when the liver is full of fat then it spills over to the blood and that is when you find that your triglyceride levels have increased. How did it happen? It happened because your liver was filled with fat and when this fat deposits in your arteries then arteries become hard and when arteries get hard then it develops high blood pressure.”

“Similarly when your liver is filled with fat the body develops insulin resistance, prompting the pancreas to produce more insulin leading to its damage and subsequent development of diabetes,” he further added.

“The main issue here is that diabetes, hypertension and high blood lipids are due to the presence of excess fat in the liver. Therefore, if we want to control these diseases, our aim should be to remain fit and healthy and not overload our liver with fat,” he added.

Speaking on the difference between the fatty and non-alcoholic fatty liver, Prof Sarin pointed out that drinking alcohol can result in the development of fatty liver, so one should refrain from drinking as much as possible.

In case there is a family history of fatty liver and obesity, in such cases, people should take extra care to maintain ideal body weight, by making it a practice to eat a balanced diet and taking less or no medicines.

Prof (Dr) Dipankar Bhowmik, Professor, Department of Nephrology, Delhi-AIIMS, said that maintaining Body Mass Index between 18 and 23 is crucial in preventing kidney disease. Exercising regularly keeps blood pressure in control and periodically checking blood pressure is essential to prevent kidney diseases.

“The preventive measures of kidney disease include urine check-ups so that doctors can manage if there is leakage of protein in urine and this can prevent Chronic Kidney Disease,” he added.

Commenting on the trend of kidney diseases in the last five years, Prof Bhowmik pointed out that chronic kidney disease cases have increased because of increasing obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and improving life expectancy.

Explaining more on kidney diseases, Prof Bhowmik said that cases of chronic and acute kidney diseases and kidney failure have been reported.  

He emphasised that malaria, diarrhoea, snake bite and sudden kidney failure in pregnant women have been major causes of acute kidney diseases.

“These cases need urgent management, and if they are not treated in time, they can turn into chronic kidney diseases.”

The other group of people, who have kidney diseases include those who suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure. They too should be managed at the earliest to prevent them from transit to chronic kidney diseases.

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