Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is increasingly being diagnosed in patients who are overweight, diabetic, or who have insulin resistance syndrome.
Overweight and obesity are also recognized risk factors for the progression of other
chronic liver diseases, such as hepatitis C.
|Quality of life significantly improved after losing weight.|
In this study, Dr Elizabeth Powell's team evaluated 31 overweight patients with fatty liver disease. The patients dieted for 15 months and exercised regularly.
The patients were seen by a dietician every week during the first 3 months and once a month thereafter. They completed 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise every week for the entire period.
The team measured blood samples for liver enzymes, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose and insulin at months 0, 3 and 15.Liver biopsies were also taken.
In addition, patients completed questionnaires on their health-related quality of life.
In the patients who had liver biopsies between months 6 and 9 of the program, the amount of fatty tissue present had fallen.
At the end of the study 68% of patients had maintained their weight loss.
ALT levels were also significantly lower than at the beginning of the study. Insulin levels also fell.
The team determined that these improvements also occurred in patients who lost 4% to 5% of their body weight.
After completion of the study 10 patients regained their weight and their ALT levels worsened.
Patients reported that their quality of life significantly improved after losing weight.