x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

'I had never heard of it - then I had it'

Andy Beaven changed his lifestyle after finding out he had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Andy Beaven and his doctor, Dr Huda Kataa.
Andy Beaven and his doctor, Dr Huda Kataa.

ABU DHABI // Andy Beaven had never heard of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease until his doctor diagnosed the illness.

"I had never heard of it. In my family, I don't think there has ever been any mention of somebody suffering from fatty liver disease," he said. "I know about heart problems but fatty liver disease? No.

"Heart disease and heart problems are much more out there and people are aware of it. You hear of heart attacks and strokes from not only the public but from stars and singers," he said.

The 50-year-old, who works at Yas Marina Circuit, was told he had a mild form of the disease nine months ago. After feeling generally unwell - tired, dizzy, lethargic and suffering from muscle aches - he went for a checkup, where an ultrasound scan indicated fatty liver disease.

After being referred to consultant gastroenterologist, Dr Huda Kattaa, who works at American European Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi, he underwent more tests and was given thediagnosis.

"She told me I had to lose weight, and wanted to see in the next six months a reduction of between six and 10 kilograms," Mr Beaven said.

The British father, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for four years, changed his lifestyle. "I have been going to the gym pretty regularly, three to four times a week, an hour each session," he said.

Mr Beaven has a BMI (body mass index - a measure of whether you are a healthy weight for your height) of 31. A score over 30 is classed as obese. The healthy range is between 18.5 and 24.9.

He said his job changed over the years from one involving lots of activity and travel with a motorsport team to being more desk-based, and he failed to adapt his diet, continuing to eat rich food.

"In my mind, I still feel like I'm 20, but I'm not. Now I'm living here I'm not travelling anymore," he said. "There's the opportunity to overindulge in the UAE because it is such a fantastic place for food.

"When you go out you take a taxi which delivers you to the door. You never walk around town."