Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis rising in children: Dr Kunal Das

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Dr Kunal Das

Rohit Shishodia
Patients of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) have increased in the past 10 years. Nowadays it is a trend of increasing liver diseases that is found mostly in patients.

Obesity, hypothyroidism, TB and immunosuppressant medicines, aspirin and diabetes are major causes of NASH. Thirty to forty percent of liver inflammation occurs due to NASH, says Dr Kunal Das, Consultant and HOD, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Manipal Hospitals, Delhi.

Speaking to DTMT on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day, Dr Das points out, "I used to see 10 out of 100 patients of NASH ten years ago. Now patients of NASH have increased to around one third. In the past, we used to witness communicable diseases such as malaria, hepatitis A and B. These days non-communicable diseases have increased due to intake of fast food, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and overnutrition. We are noticing a fast increase in number of patients of NASH in children."
Speaking more about hepatitis, Dr Das says that hepatitis are mainly of four types. "Hepatitis A, B, C and E. These are majorly four hepatitis viruses. Hepatitis A is a food and waterborne virus which causes jaundice. Generally it remains for a short period of time. It stays from six weeks to six months. Patient recovers on its own. Hepatitis B and C are transmitted from contaminated blood, or from infected surgical blades, sharing of needles and sexual contacts," he added.

"Alcohol is a major risk factor for hepatitis. The standard permissible limit is two drinks per day. Intake of more than 2 drinks may cause liver damage. Common symptoms of hepatitis include nausea, vomiting, jaundice, weakness, and yellowish urine. Hepatitis can be diagnosed by liver function test and ultrasound. Hepatitis can be prevented through vaccination. Hepatitis B vaccine has come under universal immunization schedule. It is inoculated with DPT injections," said Dr Das.

Advising for prevention of hepatitis A and B in monsoon season, Dr Das says that boiled water and good food should be taken to prevent the viral disease from spreading. Avoiding alcohol can prevent alcoholic hepatitis while non-alcoholic hepatitis can be prevented by reducing obesity and controlling diabetes, less intake of fats, doing regular exercise, increased intake of green vegetables and avoiding sugary beverages and junk foods like pizzas and burgers, he added.


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