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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD for short, is a form of fatty liver (steatohepatitis) that is not caused by increased alcohol consumption. It includes both non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). For the diagnosis of NAFLD, significant alcohol consumption (i.e. less than 20 g alcohol per day for men and <10 g/d for women) and other secondary causes of fatty liver (e.g. hepatitis C genotype 3, methotrexate, Sprue, etc.) must be excluded.
Patients with NAFLD have an increased mortality, which is mainly due to cardiovascular diseases, tumor diseases and a progression of the liver disease itself. It should be noted that cardiovascular diseases are a more frequent cause of death in NAFLD than liver-related complications. NAFLD is also considered an independent cardiovascular risk factor and is a predictor for the development of type 2 diabetes. This underlines that the care of patients with fatty liver disease should be multidisciplinary in order to take into account the individual risk profile of the patients (cardiovascular diseases, tumour screening, diabetes, metabolic disorders) and their comorbidities. Consequently, NAFLD should not be considered as an isolated liver disease, but as part of a systemic disease.
Approximately 50% of patients with NAFLD are asymptomatic. The diagnosis is usually made by chance, if elevated levels of transaminases in blood tests or sonography show evidence of fatty liver. NAFLD is also associated with:
50 to 90% of those affected are obese. Patients with NAFLD also show other characteristics of the metabolic syndrome. Some show signs of chronic liver disease (e.g. palmarerythema, spider naevi, splenomegaly). In advanced cases, complications of liver insufficiency (e.g. jaundice, ascites, variceal bleeding) may occur.
There is currently no specific drug therapy approved for NASH or NAFLD. Only HEPACOR (high-dose, purified OMEGA-3) has been shown to make a significant contribution to the complete return to normal liver values with consistent dietary management (see also Condin study).
Therefore, in addition to the regular intake of HEPACOR, the adaptation of lifestyle and the control and therapy of the metabolic syndrome, in particular the treatment of cardiovascular risk factors remain as the cornerstone of therapy. Lifestyle interventions have been proven to be effective. In obese patients, a weight reduction of 10% within one year is sufficient to significantly reduce NAS score and fibrosis stage.
The CONDIN study showed that with early detection,
proper counselling and treatment, liver fat in NAFLD patients was reduced by up to 48% during a 6-month therapy with 3g (4 capsules) HEPACOR® per day. The results indicate that adding HEPACOR® - a highly concentrated and purified Omega-3 - into the dietary management of NAFLD, can reverse the accumulation of a fatty liver in NAFLD patients and inhibit the progression into secondary diseases such as an inflammatory hepatitis (NASH).
HEPACOR® was developed by a medicine scientific research team of BASF.
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