Weight loss due to lifestyle changes and bariatric surgery can significantly reduce the symptoms of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (BASG), a disease characterized by accumulation of fat in the liver, say scientists from the University of Bologna in Italy.
While the main cause of BASG remains unclear, the disease is most commonly seen among obese middle-aged patients. During the study, experts have found that a loss of 10% overweight and more will help reduce the risk of scarring in the liver in people with overweight and obesity. To a lesser extent, moderate weight loss (from 7% to 10%) reduces the severity of the disease in some groups of patients. In this case, patients with a slight weight loss (less than 5%) or without weight loss have undergone a significant deterioration of scarring in the liver. Another study also found that one year after the bariatric surgery, BASG disappeared at 85%. In this case, the disease disappeared in a larger proportion of patients with mild BASG before surgery (94%) than with severe (70%).
These two studies provide a benchmark for future pharmacological intervention in the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, the scientists say, warning that this disease can eventually lead to liver cirrhosis, in which the liver is permanently damaged and is no longer able to function properly. In the absence of the approved treatment available for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis at present, doctors recommend that patients with BASG reduce weight, maintain a balanced diet, exercise and avoid alcohol and unnecessary drugs.