When asked to write an article about the patient perspective, it was easy to say yes. Now, looking at this page it is a daunting task. As a cirrhosis patient and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Fatty Liver Foundation, a patient advocacy group, I have my own personal story. My journey from thinking, I was perfectly healthy to facing a terminal illness is common enough but it does not represent what one might describe as the “patient journey.” Through the foundation, we interact with thousands of patients so I hope to provide here a broader glimpse into life as lived by patients.
When we consider patients as a general case in the USA, we see a population that is unwittingly choosing to be ill more often as they age and to die younger and with more difficulty than they expect. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a disease that was undefined until 1980, has become a leading killer of middle age and older adults. A leading precursor, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is steadily increasing in all age groups.
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