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What is good for the heart, good for the liver

Scientists have long traced a direct relationship between cardiovascular disease and liver dysfunction. It is the liver that is responsible for the exchange of cholesterol, which affects the state of the vascular system. The map of risk factors for atherosclerosis almost completely overlaps with the risks of liver diseases, which indicates the relationship of these pathologies.

“Atherosclerosis and liver disease” was the name of the interactive discussion that took place as part of the Eighteenth Russian Gastroenterological Week in Moscow.

According to statistics, annually about 1 million people in the world die from cardiovascular diseases. This is about 4 times more than from accidents and oncology. In Russia, as in the whole world, circulatory system diseases dominate. The most common cause of death is coronary heart disease resulting from atherosclerosis. Its share in the mortality structure in Europe is 21%, which is equal to the number of cancer deaths.

The main causes of atherosclerosis are overweight, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. The map of risk factors for atherosclerosis almost completely overlaps with the risks of liver diseases, which indicates the relationship of these pathologies.

A harbinger of vascular damage and the appearance of atherosclerosis is the metabolic syndrome that occurs as a result of overeating, excessive consumption of fats, and inactivity. Against the background of physical inactivity, as a rule characteristic of obese people, the utilization of “bad” fats is disrupted. Excess fat from food and adipose tissue leads to the development of steatosis (accumulation of fat in liver cells), and also causes oxidative stress (damage to cells as a result of oxidation). The development of steatosis and insulin resistance can lead to the formation of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and even cirrhosis and liver failure. At the same time, NAFLD is a significant risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, and arterial hypertension.

The symposium presented the All-Russian prospective multicenter study DIREG on the prevalence of NAFLD, which was conducted in 2007. As a result, NAFLD was detected in 27% of patients who applied to general practitioners.

Fortunately, NAFLD is a reversible disease. “In order for this process to regress, it is necessary to change the diet: reduce the intake of saturated fats, reduce the intake of trans fats, eat more plant fiber. It is also important to increase motor activity. In addition, essential phospholipids, which have the ability to to integrate into damaged liver cells and return to them the ability to function normally – said Oksana Mikhailovna Drapkina, MD, professor of the department of propaedeutics of internal diseases her First MGMU named after I.M.Sechenov.

As a result, experts once again noted the similarity of atherosclerosis and liver disease: these chronic diseases are often asymptomatic. Cardiovascular disease is already the final stage of all pathologies. It is possible to prevent and get ahead of their development by paying attention to the condition of the liver in time.

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