March 4, 2024

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Live Style in Leeuwarden

A quarter of the population age 18 or older has fatty liver, says MDL doctor Herold Metselaar of Erasmus MC. How did this happen? And what can you do to prevent it?

According to Metselar, a quarter of this group will develop hepatitis C (NASH): a quarter of those will develop cirrhosis and/or liver cancer. My estimate is that about 800,000 people over the age of 18 have NASH and that number will increase in the coming years if nothing changes.

Lifestyle improvement
“Adjusting your lifestyle is very important,” says Sebeki-Jan Bussima. He is the initiator of the project Live Style, a social campaign that aims to provide people with sustainable information about liver, fatty liver and lifestyle improvement. Bussima: In 2014, my ex-husband’s brother received a liver transplant at a young age. This is how I reached out to doctors, sisters, and organizations committed to this. The liver is an important organ. We put our heads together and looked at what we could do to put it on the map and support people by improving their lifestyle.

they change
Deborah, 42, recorded on the programme: ‘I didn’t know beforehand that being overweight could also cause fatty liver. When I discovered this, I immediately began modifying my lifestyle. You do this on the basis of a behavioral expert and lifestyle coach. I started eating healthy food and started exercising. I no longer drink alcohol at all. I have already lost 8 kilos. I had done a lot of things before that to lose weight because I want to run after my kids. But the program made me realize that it can also affect the liver.

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Deborah

Deborah

© Stephen Amerlan

According to Metselar, being overweight can lead to liver disease: “The liver is the largest and most important organ. So a healthy lifestyle is important: exercise and eat healthy food. If you modify your behavior, you will see that you can do a lot of good with a small decrease. In weight. Nobody thinks about the liver, but it matters.Busima says that men with a waist circumference of more than 102 cm and women with a waist circumference of more than 88 cm are more likely to have fatty liver.

Ramifications
Metselaar explains that the consequences of liver problems are serious: “In the Netherlands, half of the population is overweight; about a quarter of them have hepatitis. This ultimately damages the liver. This can lead to cirrhosis and, in the final stage, liver cancer. Then the only solution It’s a liver transplant.Prevention is better than cure, says Metselar.

Factors
Several factors seem to play a role, Metselaar explains: “Research shows that being overweight is more common in people with a lower level of education. We also see regional distributions. We see more weight in Limburg than in the Hague region. Older people are more likely to suffer from More overweight than young people.

MDL Doctor Herold Metselaar from ErasmusMC

MDL Doctor Herold Metselaar from ErasmusMC

© Stephen Amerlan

Young
One of the causes of liver disease, obesity, affects children as well. Fifteen percent of children in the Netherlands are overweight, says Metselaer: “I find that the most worrying thing.” Deborah is also well aware of this: “I work as a teacher and I also talk about this in my class. Young people are more likely to buy unhealthy things with their own money. A snack that contains fat, or they walk to school in the morning with a bag of chips, etc. Few of the students choose a healthy breakfast. She also tries to teach her children the importance of a healthy lifestyle. I would give them something tasty if they were nice, as a kind of bonus. Because I was programmed like this: After a long day at work, I want to reward myself with food ‘The good’, she says. But it is no longer. ‘If it is not good for me, it is not good for my children,’ said Deborah.