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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 Lap-Band System is indicated for weight reduction for patients with obesity, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40 kg/m2 or a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2 with one or more obesity-related comorbid conditions. It is indicated for use only in adult patients who have failed more conservative weight reduction alternatives, such as supervised diet, exercise and behavior modification programs. Patients who elect to have this surgery must make the commitment to accept significant changes in their eating habits for the rest of their lives.

The Lap-Band System is not recommended for non-adult patients (patients under 18 years of age), patients with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or increase the risk of poor results, who are unwilling or unable to comply with the required dietary restrictions, or who currently are or may be pregnant.

The Lap-Band System is a long-term implant. Explant and replacement surgery may be required. Patients who become pregnant or severely ill, or who require more extensive nutrition may require deflation of their bands. Anti-inflammatory agents, such as aspirin, should be used with caution and may contribute to an increased risk of band erosion.

Placement of the Lap-Band System is major surgery and, as with any surgery, death can occur. Possible complications include the risks associated with the medications and methods used during surgery, the risks associated with any surgical procedure, and the patient’s ability to tolerate a foreign object implanted in the body. Most common related adverse events include: Band slippage, pouch dilation, stoma obstruction, gastroesophageal reflux, esophageal dilation, cholelithiasis, incisional infection, abdominal pain, gastroenteritis, or nausea and vomiting may occur. Reoperation may be required. Rapid weight loss may result in complications that may require additional surgery. Deflation of the band may alleviate excessively rapid weight loss or esophageal dilation.

Important: For full safety information please click here or talk with your doctor.