Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis: Early Screening to Save Lives

According to a story from Real World Health Care, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and its less common, more serious form called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), are silent but deadly conditions that often causes little to no symptoms initially but can easily develop into more serious conditions such as cirrhosis or even liver cancer. The Fatty Liver Foundation is committed to taking preventative measures by advocating for early screening so that interventions and lifestyle changes can begin before it’s too late.

About Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a type of liver disease in which fat is deposited in the liver independent of excessive alcohol consumption. This disease can progress rapidly. Risk factors include metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. There also appears to be some genetic component to the disease as well. This condition also increases the risk of other health problems and liver cancer. Men also seem to be at greater risk, getting the disease as almost twice the rate that women do. Symptoms of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis include jaundice, malaise, fatigue, and abdominal pain or discomfort. Without treatment, the liver can become scarred and the patient may need a liver transplant. However, the condition can also be managed with proper diet, the use of certain medications, and exercise. To learn more about nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, click here.

The Importance of Early Screening

There are methods for efficient and effective screening for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, but getting a screening is not nearly as easy as it should be. Screening is uncommon without symptoms being present although many people with the illness may not have them. This makes it difficult to understand how prevalent the disease is as a whole and screening is often not covered by insurers unless it is clear that the patient is sick.

The foundation plans to improve access to early screening with the goal of scanning up to one million patients a year at 400 different testing sites starting with type 2 diabetes patients. It is estimated that almost 70 percent of these patients have co-morbid fatty liver or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. The ultimate goal of the project is to give patients a decent chance to make critical changes to their lives in order to prevent the progression of the illness.

Check out the Fatty Liver Foundation website here.

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