We are working with the Healthy Trucking Association of America, (HTAA) to help educate and support truckers at risk of liver disease. It isn't commonly known that truckers have among the highest rates of diabetes and heart disease of any profession which means they also have a high risk of asymptomatic undiagnosed liver disease. We will be doing a live radio broadcast about liver disease on radio at 4:00 PM CST February 6th. This is internet radio so if you would like to listen click on the link at that time. If you are a country music fan you may like the station even if you aren't a trucker.
We are working with the Healthy Trucking Association of America, (HTAA) to help educate and support truckers at risk of liver disease. It isn't commonly known that truckers have among the highest rates of diabetes and heart disease of any profession which means they also have a high risk of asymptomatic undiagnosed liver disease. HTAA produces INTHECAB radio an internet radio so if you would like to listen click on the link. If you are a country music fan you may like the station even if you aren't a trucker.
Dr. John McElligott, cofounder of the St. Christopher Trucker Development and Relief Fund, has described fatty liver disease as, “the scourge of the trucking industry,” in a September 2017 blog post. Data from 1670 long-haul truck drivers obtained by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in their 2010 National Survey of Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury support substantially higher prevalence of metabolic disease among truckers relative to the general working population:
- 69% obese (vs 31% of working adults in US; P< .01)
- 17% morbidly obese (vs 7% of working adults in US; P< .01)
- 14% with diabetes (vs 7% of general US population; P< .05)
Since nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are commonly without any symptoms, most truckers do not know that their risk of developing cirrhosis is much higher than that of the general population. We are working to help the community understand that and begin to take steps to address it before they become ill.
1. Dr. John’s Medical Solutions Blog. https://docjmd.com/blog/fatty-liver-disease-the-scourge-of-the-trucking-industry/. Accessed August 15, 2018.
2. SieberWK, Robinson CF, BirdseyJ, et al. Obesity and other risk factors: the national survey of U.S. long-haul truck driver health and injury. Am J IndMed. 2014;57:615-626.
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The liver, an amazing organ!
Some Liver Facts!
Hopefully you clicked on the picture to hear the very short quote from Shakespeare. Sometimes I can't resist a bit of drama.
Since you have an interest in liver disease, I wanted to let you know that we have reached a real milestone in the development of the foundation. We intend to help change the way liver disease, particularly NASH, is managed and to save the lives of millions who do not know today that they are at risk.Read more
There are some benefits to being an advocate. Sometimes you get to be first. We just finished training and certifying our staff to do FibroScan tests. As part of that I got to be the first one tested. Getting to this point has been a long journey, about 9 months, so a birth of sorts though happily a painless one. Everyone shows off baby pictures, here is beauty for anyone who hasn't seen a FibroScan report. This is my new scan. Click on it if you'd like to see the full size view.
Although this note is about our screening project, it is also an opportunity to reinforce our view that with lifestyle changes it can be possible to improve liver health, even for a cirrhosis patient.Read more
In every battle there are moments which mark the end of an era. They portend the beginning of something new and a time when tiny things can sprout and grow to a vast scale. We have just completed our installation and certification of our first FibroScan system for our liver screening project. We are alive and well in Texas City and a new day is dawning.
I recently wrote about my view that for the first time a cirrhosis patient could look forward to real medical therapies. A few folks felt that I was planting false hopes and that such miracles weren't going to happen. In light of that, I thought I might provide a broader view of the situation today.
Some of you are old enough to remember that not so long ago Hep C was unknown. We called the illness non A non B hepatitis. Today we have a cure. A miracle perhaps but also a lesson.Read more
This information is primarily for physicians but may be of value to some of our patients. As a patient, it is important to know that the interpretation of a Fibroscan score is not simple. The meaning of a test depends upon what caused the liver damage as we can see in this scoring guide.
In light of this, it is important that a qualified physician makes the interpretation of your test results. Some of the guidance available for physicians is found in these documents.
The picture was taken June 2018. My hubby and I are about to be 55. It’s hard to believe that in the past 11 months I was diagnosed with cirrhosis, diagnosed with HCC, had 3 surgeries and about to have a 4th, been admitted 4 times to hospital for non surgical reasons and in the ER 17 times. I’ve lost count of the number of CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, and other diagnostic Radiology tools. I don’t remember all my doctors names or even what their specialty is. I’ve gone from not being able to walk to the toilet from my bed to hiking to see a waterfall. I’m alive.
When I was first diagnosed, my doctor told me his goal was to get me to die of an old age other than Cirrhosis complications. I was severely decompensated, leaking 2-3 liters a day of ascites from a surgical incision, and didn’t have a clue. I was scared to death because of all the things I had found on Dr Google. I was ready to give up.
One of the things he really emphasized was to not pay attention to any statistics. There were things I needed to do to help my body heal...but he couldn’t do it without me really jumping in and owning what needed to happen. I had to cut my sodium intake to less than 2000mgs per day. I needed to cut out processed foods, focus on lean protein and plant based protein. Even though I don’t drink, no celebration drinks for anything. I needed to increase my activity in whatever way I could...even if it was lifting a soup can 10 times with each hand. He also asked me to listen to what he said and not be afraid to ask questions.
It’s been a year since diagnosis. Yes, there are still things I have to deal with every day...some days more than others. And this disease is never far from my mind. Every thing I do or don’t do impacts it. I do constantly have a running calendar in my head of my doctors appointments and test dates. Due to being diagnosed with HCC in May and had an Ablation last week, everything is slightly increased in speed. I see my Hepatologist every three months and have blood work and CT scans every three months. Every day my breakfast appetizer is a handful of pills that keep the symptoms at bay.
It doesn’t matter what the cause of your Cirrhosis is. Mine is from NASH...but it could also be left over damage from being a hardheaded college kid who liked to party too much 35 years ago...or from being a teenager who liked “speed” a bit too much to get through what life had dealt me. We all have a past. Sometimes it’s yesterday. Sometimes it’s 50 years ago. Our past doesn’t define us.
You matter. Your story matters...even if you’re not ready to share it...it’s still important.
My story isn’t done yet. It’s being written everyday. Someday, not soon, there will be a finishing period to my story. But not yet. I’m going to live! How about you?
The National Fatty Liver Registry (NFLR) is in its design stage. As outlined in our Screening Project introduction, there is a great need for identifying patients at risk and with liver disease. Our goal is to build the largest database of tests for liver disease in the world. At scale and full deployment, our target is one million tests per year, capturing valuable data for epidemiological and interventional research.
The fundamental goal of the Foundation is to alert the individual patient to the risks they may have of developing liver disease as a result of lifestyle issues. The Foundation is also commited to building a research resource which will deliver lasting benefit to society at large and to the research community.
The Foundation is taking a proactive, leading sponsorship role in the development of the NFLR. We are working with leading organizations and partners to design and implement this strategic project. If you have interest in being part of the effort, contact us for more information and how you can help.