Based on reports from PRNewswire, there appears to be a rising concern in both the number of cases and the amount of global concern about NASH. NASH stands for Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and is a form of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Singapore seems especially at risk, providing an interesting case for researchers. There is also a call for the development of earlier methods of detection. Keep reading to learn more, and follow the original story for further information.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a condition in which a build-up of fat in the liver results in inflammation, ultimately leading to liver damage. The disease may cause similar scarring and functional damage to what long-term heavy drinkers experience even though the patients are non-drinkers or people who consume minimal alcohol. NASH affects nearly a quarter of people in the United States.
The International Diabetes Foundation lists Singapore as the nation with the second highest rate of diabetes in the developed world. The same lifestyle choices which contribute to diabetes, such as lack of physical activity and calorie rich diets, are also risk factors for NAFLD.
With this in mind, it is especially frightening that NASH is considered a silent disease. Symptoms typically do not occur until there is severe damage to the liver. Patients typically are unaware of their condition until they suffer some kind of illness, or discover the disease somewhat by chance during another screening.
This highlights the need for earlier detection of NASH and NASH indicators. Some non-invasive strategies are being developed, but the liver biopsy remains the best method for detecting the disease. When NASH is detected early it is possible to reverse the effects of the disease with treatment. If scarring of the liver becomes too advanced, however, the damage is permanent and liver function suffers.
At this advanced stage of the disease, no treatments have been approved. There are, however, a large batch of treatments entering late phase trials with the US Food and Drug Administration. Detection and awareness therefore remain the most important concerns surrounding NASH.
One example of this is the NASH Education Program. Having established a base of advocates, and supporters, the NASH Education Program prepares to reveal the inaugural International NASH Day on June 12th 2018. The event will provide education in 20 locations across multiple countries simultaneously as well as providing online programs in multiple languages.
The President of the NASH Education Program, Jean-Francois Mouney views the disease as a clear threat to both patients and the overall health system of the nation of Singapore and others. He continues to express a belief that media may create opportunities to spread awareness and that, should this be possible, it will provide ways to save both costs and lives.