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Weight Loss Benefits NASH, No Matter How It's Done

Through surgery or lifestyle changes, weight loss improves nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

MONDAY, Aug. 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Weight loss can improve nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in obese or overweight people, whether excess pounds are shed through lifestyle changes or weight-loss surgery, according to research published in the August issue of Gastroenterology.

In one study, researchers found that overweight and obese people who achieved a weight loss of 10 percent or more after one year of lifestyle changes involving a low-calorie diet and exercise experienced reductions in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease activity score. In addition, 90 percent experience resolution of NASH, and 45 percent showed regression of fibrosis. Weight loss of 7 to 10 percent also reduced disease severity in some patients, including men and those without diabetes.

In the other study, researchers found that NASH disappeared in 85 percent of obese patients one year after they had weight-loss surgery. The success rate was higher among those with mild NASH (94 percent) than among those with severe disease (70 percent).

"In summary, we have now evidence that weight loss may promote NASH regression, possibly altering the natural history of disease," Giulio Marchesini, M.D., of the University of Bologna, Italy, and colleagues write in an editorial accompanying the studies. "We need to make people more aware of the risks of obesity-associated NASH, and validated weight-reducing strategies should be offered to all patients; behavior therapy, drugs, and surgery should be integrated with each other and with societal interventions, aimed at decreasing the obesiogenic environment. The final recipe is weight loss for healthy liver!"

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