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Liver Lowdown


For Liver Awareness Month in October, a Quick Quiz and Why Being Overweight May Destroy Your Liver


A month devoted to the importance of liver awareness gives you the opportunity to focus on the important role the liver plays. You can also learn about different forms of liver disease including the threat posed by obesity and fatty livers.

And to begin, why not take the quick quiz to test your knowledge about liver disease? It’s definitely quick—just four questions!

How much do you know about liver disease? Just in time for Liver Awareness Month 2013, here’s a quick quiz—with the answers:

• How many people in America have one form or another of liver disease? (Answer: 30 million)

• How many types of disease are there? (Answer: More than 100.)

• Is it possible to have liver disease and not know about it? (Answer: Yes, the shocking fact is that about 75 percent of the population infected with hepatitis B and hepatitis C is unaware they are even infected.)

• Is it true that liver disease is primarily caused by alcohol and drug abuse? (Answer: No, while it continues to be one of the causes, the truth is that liver disease can occur for many other reasons including the mounting obesity rate in the United States.)

The Liver’s Important Role

As the quick quiz illustrates, there is a critical need for the American Liver Foundation throughout the year, but especially during Liver Awareness Month, to educate the general public about the important role the liver plays and how to maintain a healthy liver.

The Focus on Fatty Livers Intensifies

Much of the Foundation’s emphasis during October continues to point to the cause and treatment for liver diseases like hepatitis A, B and C; cirrhosis, biliary atresia and liver cancer.

But the Foundation is also tapping into the heightened awareness during Liver Awareness Month to draw attention to the alarming increase in the incidence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), which, staggeringly, affects up to 25 percent of people in the United States.

As its name suggests, NAFLD is the buildup of extra fat in the liver that isn’t caused by alcohol. It’s normal for the liver to contain some fat. But if more than 5 to 10 percent of the liver’s weight is fat, then it is called a “fatty liver.”

Most often, NAFLD tends to develop in people who are overweight or obese or have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides. Sedentary behavior is another major contributing factor to the onset of NAFLD.

For these reasons, concern continues to grow as one in 10 children—that’s seven million children in the United States—is estimated to have fatty livers.

NALFD can become even more serious. It can progress to Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), which means that along with the fat, there is inflammation and damage to the liver. A swollen liver may cause scarring (cirrhosis) over time and may even lead to liver cancer or liver failure.

Related Links

Given the wide range of issues relating to liver wellness, the American Liver Foundation is offering the public “13 Ways to Have a Healthy Liver in 2013.”

If Liver Awareness Month is meant, in part, to illustrate the various types and stages of liver disease and treatment, David Roncari is the perfect example of someone who has lived through many of these stages. Read his story.

Return to the October Liver Lowdown Main Menu

Page updated: October 17th, 2013