Strength training protects the liver from deadly diseases

Strength training protects the liver from deadly diseases

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Study shows: Walking and strength training strengthen our liver

Serious liver diseases such as fatty liver and liver cirrhosis have increased significantly in recent decades. Doctors see the reason for this in the increasing rate of overweight people, for whom the risk of liver disease is increased. A large study recently looked at the benefits of exercise on liver health. The research team showed that activities such as walking and weight training protect the liver from diseases and drastically reduce the mortality rate from liver diseases.

A Harvard Medical School research team recently evaluated data from 117,000 people collected over a period of 26 years. There was a direct correlation between physical activity and the risk of dying from a serious liver disease. People who walk every week and support them with some strength exercises have been able to reduce their risk of dying from liver disease by around 75 percent. People with a sedentary lifestyle were four times more likely to die prematurely from cirrhosis. The study results were recently presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW). The DDW is the largest international trade fair for the areas of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.

Exercise can prevent fatal cirrhosis and liver cancer

According to the researchers, there is currently no clear recommendation in the guidelines for regular physical activity to prevent fatal liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. The current results should help to provide specific training recommendations for patients with an increased risk of cirrhosis.

Greater benefit from activity than previously thought

"The benefits of exercise are not a new concept, but the impact on mortality from liver cirrhosis and liver cancer has not yet been investigated on this scale," explains research director Dr. Tracey Simon in a press release. Both regular walking and strength training lead to a significant reduction in the risk of cirrhosis-related death. According to the researchers, very little was known about changeable risk factors in relation to liver diseases.

Lack of exercise favors cirrhosis

The team around Dr. Simon accompanied 68,449 women and 48,748 men with no known liver disease at baseline. From 1986 to 2012, the participants provided extremely precise data on their physical activity and health status. This allowed the team to prospectively examine the relationship between physical activity and cirrhosis-related deaths. Adults who walked weekly had a 73 percent lower risk of cirrhotic death than those who were sedentary. The risk could be reduced even further if walking was supplemented by strength training.

Cirrhosis deaths will triple

"In the United States, mortality from cirrhosis increases dramatically," emphasizes Dr. Simon. The death rate is expected to triple by 2030. Given this alarming trend, more information is urgently needed on the changeable risk factors that can be used to prevent liver disease. These results are the basis for determining the optimal type and intensity of physical activity in order to reduce the risk of cirrhosis to the maximum, according to the expert. For more information, read: Metabolic Syndrome and Fatty Liver: These everyday risks make our liver suffer. (vb)

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