Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Liver disease is reversible with lifestyle changes — PCP 


By Patricia B. Mirasol, Reporter 

TO AVOID liver cancer, individuals who are overweight, diabetic, or hypertensive should strive to lose enough pounds to stay within the healthy range, get vaccinated against hepatitis B, and drink alcohol in moderation (or skip it altogether). 

These lifestyle changes can help prevent fatty liver disease, “the fastest rising cause” of liver cancer (also known as hepatocellular carcinoma or HCC) worldwide, according to several studies. 

“There’s no safety limits of alcohol, to reiterate our stand,” said Dr. Diana Alcantara-Payawal, president of the Philippine College of Physicians and regional representative of the Global Liver Institute, meaning that the safest number of drinks is zero. 

“When you gain weight in the middle … there’s also more susceptibility to MAFLD, or Metabolic Associated Fatty Liver Disease,” she said at a June 16 webinar by the Hepatology Society of the Philippines.  

MAFLD, previously known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, is a condition characterized by a build-up of fat in the liver.  

Fatty liver disease refers to a range of liver disorders not caused by alcohol consumption, autoimmune disease, drug use, or viruses. At least 18 million Filipinos are either suffering from or at risk of it.  

Even those with normal weight — or a body mass index of less than or equal to 23 kg/m3 in Asians — are at risk of the disease if at least two other factors are present. These include: having a waist circumference of more than or equal to 90 centimeters for Asian men, or more than or equal to 80 centimeters for Asian women, as well as high blood pressure of more than or equal to 130/85 mmHg.  

A 2018 study co-authored by Dr. Payawal on the 2003-2018 etiology of HCC in the Philippines found that liver cancer due to hepatitis B has been on a downward trend through the years, thanks to hepatitis B vaccination. On the rise, however, are both non-alcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver disease.  

“We can see this to be an increasing trend as far as the etiology of liver cancer, from a communicable disease because of hepatitis B, to a non-communicable one,” said Dr. Payawal.  

This growing MAFLD trend also extends to the Asia Pacific, including countries like Taiwan and Malaysia, “because of the increasing trend of rapid urbanization [that has led to] less exercise,” she added.  

While a normal liver has less than 5% hepatic fat, a buildup can progress from steatosis (fatty liver without inflammation), steatohepatitis (fatty liver with inflammation), cirrhosis (liver scarring), to HCC (the most common primary liver cancer that occurs in people with chronic liver disease).  

An absence of cirrhosis is reported in 30–50% of Asians with MAFLD-associated HCC, according to Dr. Payawal. Among this group, she added, steatosis can develop straight into HCC or reverse course provided that the patient makes lifestyle changes.    

“The caveat is that there is reversibility in all stages of the disease,” she said. “There is light at the end of the tunnel if you are diagnosed …  There is reversibility all the way to cirrhosis. It is not too late to institute lifestyle intervention, because that is the key to all this,” she said.  

The liver regulates most chemical levels in the blood and excretes a product called bile, which helps carry away waste products from the organ.

Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!



PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS WASHINGTON D.C. — The United States is seeking to form a coalition of countries to drive negotiations on a global...


Buildings are seen along EDSA in Quezon City. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN By Diego Gabriel C. Robles  THE WORLD BANK (WB) upgraded...


Heavy traffic is seen on the southbound lane of EDSA in Cubao, Quezon City. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN THE PHILIPPINE auto industry’s...


REUTERS THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) may deliver a second off-cycle rate hike in early November when the US Federal Reserve is expected...


Vendors arrange their goods at a public market in Manila. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ RUSSEL A. PALMA THE ASIAN Development Bank (ADB) is planning to...

Editor’s Pick

With the reversal of the 1.25% rise in National Insurance Contributions happening on the 6th of November, employers across the nation have an opportunity...

You May Also Like


BW FILE PHOTO GROSS BORROWINGS by the National Government reached P2.6 trillion as of end-September as it continued to raise funds to respond to...


KARASOLAR.COM TENA, Ecuador — Ecuador’s rainforest Achuar people say their ancestors long dreamed of a “fire canoe” or “electric fish” that would let them...


REUTERS By Luz Wendy T. Noble, Reporter The country’s foreign exchange buffers slightly increased as of end-October as the value of the central bank’s...


COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the mental health of Filipinos across different groups all over the archipelago. From frontline workers, parents balancing...

Disclaimer: Respect, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2022 Respect Investment. All Rights Reserved.