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Obesity & liver disease | Comorbidities for obese individuals

February 3, 2022

Most people know that obesity increases your risk for several serious conditions and diseases. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoarthritis are some of the most common obesity comorbidities. Less often discussed are non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In this article, we’ll cover these two obesity-related comorbidities in addition to discussing how the Lap-Band® Program can help reduce their symptoms and promote overall liver health.

Obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

NAFLD is an umbrella term for a range of liver conditions characterized by an excess of fat stored in the liver cells, which can lead to inflammation. This fat is not due to excessive alcohol use, hence the term “non-alcoholic.” NAFLD symptoms are typically minimal; if they do manifest, they sometimes do so as fatigue and pain in the upper abdomen.

NAFLD is becoming increasingly common, especially in America, where nearly 25% of citizens are affected. Overweight or obese individuals who suffer from diabetes or have insulin resistance have an increased risk of developing NAFLD. While scientists don’t fully understand the correlation between obesity and NAFLD, they do know that losing weight can help improve NAFLD symptoms

If not addressed, NAFLD can lead to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) or eventual cirrhosis.

Obesity and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)

NASH is an advancement of untreated NAFLD. Like NAFLD, NASH is characterized by the excess of fat in the liver with the addition of inflammation and liver cell damage. NASH also has minimal symptoms, which may include unexplained weight loss, general weakness, or jaundice.

NASH is a less common obesity comorbidity than NAFLD, but when left untreated, it replaces healthy liver tissue with scar tissue, leading to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can lead to many different health complications, and late-stage cirrhosis can be fatal. 

How Lap-Band can help treat NAFLD and NASH

The first recommendation for treating NAFLD and NASH is typically weight loss, which can help combat the conditions that lead to the development of fatty liver disease. For patients who qualify, the Lap-Band Program can help those suffering from NAFLD or NASH lose weight gradually and sustainably. 

During surgery, the Lap-Band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach. This band can be adjusted via a skin port, allowing patients to control their hunger and limit their food intake. In combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise, the Lap-Band Program can help patients take control of their weight, potentially leading to the reversal of their NAFLD or NASH.

To learn more about how Lap-Band can help you start the path to a healthier lifestyle, visit our website. 

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Important Lap-Band® System Safety Information

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems are approved for adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of at least 30 with health conditions related to obesity, who have not seen success with other weight loss methods, like supervised diet, exercise, and behavior modification programs. Choosing this surgery means committing to changes in eating habits for the long term.

The Lap-Band procedure is not approved for individuals under 18 yo, those with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or lead to poor results, such as inflammatory or cardiopulmonary diseases, problems with the stomach and digestion, symptoms or family history of autoimmune disease, scarring of the liver, individuals unable or unwilling to follow the necessary dietary restrictions, individuals with alcohol or drug addictions, or those currently pregnant. Individuals who become pregnant after band placement may require deflation of their bands.

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems, a long-term tool, may need to be adjusted if you get pregnant, sick, or malnourished. Be careful with anti-inflammatory drugs as they could make the band wear away. Like any surgery, placement of the Lap-Band may have complications such as risks from drugs and methods used, general surgery risks, how well your body handles a foreign object, or in rare cases, risk of death.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with metabolic and bariatric surgery that you and your doctor should discuss. Potential risks associated with the Lap-Band include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach blockage, constipation, swallowing difficulty, diarrhea, abnormal stools, abdominal pain, weakness, incision pain, infection, fever, hernia, chest pain, band movement, stomach pouch expansion, unusual healing, pain at the port site, port movement, and/or hair loss. Additional surgery might be needed. Losing weight quickly could lead to complications requiring more surgery. 

Talk to your doctor, and/or visit our website at for more information on its benefits and risks.