Nearly 30 percent of the UAE’s adult population could be suffering from a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is associated with risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity. NAFLD doesn’t usually cause any harm, but it can lead to serious liver damage, including cirrhosis if it gets worse.

During the event held by Singapore-based Asian American Liver Centre (AALC) and Gleneagles Hospital, Singapore (Gleneagles Hospital) at Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche On April 14, 2017. Dr Lee Kang Hoe, senior consultant  said maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce risks of developing NAFLD or reverse the situation if you already have it.

He advised patients at risk of developing liver failure to get regular check-ups to stay healthy and monitor their liver function.

“There is a lot of reserve in the liver function,” says Dr Lee. “Even if 50 percent of your liver does not work, you could live normally and the only way for early detection is to do a blood test or liver imaging study like an ultrasound or CT scan,” Dr Lee explained.

He said the UAE is not alone, noting that five percent of the global population is also suffering from it now, especially those living in developed countries. And although it is a common piece of advice, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is still the key to protecting the liver.

“You’ve got to eat healthily, avoid too much of a fatty diet, and “sweet” things e.g. soda drinks like Pepsi as well as get enough physical activity. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of liver damage.” Dr Lee said.

During the event, physicians and past Living Donor Liver Transplantation (LDLT) recipients, many with their families, were present to share their liver transplant stories and recoveries journey. Today is to mark the collaboration between AALC and Gleneagles Hospital over the past 15 years.

AALC is one of Asia’s leading liver centres that offer the LDLT program in a private hospital. To date, AALC has carried out 244 LDLTs – 22% of them involving UAE nationals.

The LDLT program offers Emiratis with the end-stage liver disease the option to seek specialized treatment in Singapore. From pre-surgery to post-operative care, AALC works closely with UAE physicians to ensure that all patients have a smooth treatment journey.

“We deeply appreciate that, for over a decade, Emiratis from all walks of life have entrusted AALC with their liver health. Together, we have saved the lives of over 55 patients. Looking ahead, we expect to accomplish much more,” said Dr Tan Kai Chah,  renowned liver surgeon at AALC.