Bridging the Awareness Gap: Step Up for NASH
June 8, 2023; Boise, IDAHO ─ The Fatty Liver Foundation (FLF), a leading patient advocacy organization championing liver health in the United States, invites Americans to participate in marking International NASH Day on Thursday, June 8th. This significant day is devoted to enhancing awareness about non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its severe form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). By shining a spotlight on these conditions, FLF aims to inspire early detection, prevention, and effective treatment strategies, all in a bid to ultimately improve patient outcomes.
NAFLD and NASH, increasing public health concerns, currently impact over 1.66 billion people globally. In the United States, a recent study projected a 20% rise in NAFLD frequency by 2023. Individuals with metabolic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, are particularly at risk, with estimates indicating that 50-70% may also have NAFLD. Genetics can also increase the risk for NAFLD and NASH, especially among individuals of Hispanic descent, which could partially explain the higher prevalence of NAFLD and NASH observed in this population. These figures emphasize the pressing need for heightened awareness and proactive measures to identify at-risk individuals. Early detection and intervention are key to preventing disease progression and improving patient outcomes.
NAFLD and NASH develop when excess fat accumulates in the liver, leading to inflammation and potential liver damage. Unfortunately, these conditions often show minimal or no symptoms in their early stages, underlining the importance of raising awareness about their seriousness. If untreated, NAFLD can progress to NASH, causing severe complications such as cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even liver failure.
Dr. Diana Evans, FLF’s Research Fellow, in a recent illuminating interview with EL Zol 107.9 FM, a leading radio station catering to Spanish-speaking communities in the Baltimore and Washington, DC, metropolitan area, underscored the importance of proactive case-finding using non-invasive screening and diagnostic tools. “Early identification of individuals with NAFLD or NASH is crucial to halt the progression of liver disease and to reduce the burden on healthcare resources,” emphasizes Dr. Evans. “Screening high-risk individuals, especially those with obesity, type 2 diabetes, or metabolic syndrome, allows for early intervention strategies that can significantly improve patient outcomes.”
Wayne Eskridge, Co-Founder and CEO of FLF, and a NASH patient himself, urges individuals with known risk factors to consult their doctor about NAFLD and consider getting non-invasive tests. “Regrettably, there is a worrying lack of awareness among American healthcare professionals, particularly primary care providers, about fatty liver disease and NASH,” notes Wayne. “This looming public health crisis necessitates a ramp-up in resources and efforts devoted to disease awareness. By amplifying awareness through education, we can make a meaningful impact on liver health and the overall well-being of our communities.”
As a testament to their unwavering commitment to public health, FLF encourages all Americans, particularly those with risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, and sedentary lifestyles, to discuss the importance of liver health with their healthcare providers. Proactive screening and adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet, are crucial in mitigating NAFLD and NASH risks.
ABOUT THE FATTY LIVER FOUNDATION
The Fatty Liver Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the identification, diagnosis, treatment and support of people living with fatty liver, NAFLD or NASH through awareness, screening, education, and patient outreach. FLF’s goal is to improve the lives of both asymptomatic and diagnosed patients by raising awareness, advancing wellness screening, educating patients, and championing the development of responsive health systems for individuals of the growing epidemic of fatty liver disease. Connect with us on www.fattyliverfoundation.org, Facebook (Fatty Liver Foundation JUST LIVER NEWS), Twitter (@LiverSaver), and YouTube (Fatty Liver Foundation).
Henry E. Chang
Fatty Liver Foundation (FLF)
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