NAFLD Among Active Service Members

 

High prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its more serious subset non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) pose serious challenges to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The VA implemented an initiative to cure all VA patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV). In 2019, they announced that they had healed nearly 100,000 veterans of the virus, with only 26,000 more to go.

But their mission is not over. Because HCV infection can lead to advanced liver disease, the VA has set a new goal of addressing the risk for cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer and death among veterans. The VA’s priority will be focused on enhancing prevention efforts and services for those at highest risk of acquiring a new infection or reinfection and veterans with advanced liver disease.

This includes ongoing efforts to tackle the epidemic of NAFLD, a potentially progressive liver disease that occurs in people with high blood sugar, obesity or high cholesterol. NAFLD is recognized as the most common chronic liver disease in the United States, and a disease that independently increases the risk of diabetes (by two-to-five-fold), heart and kidney disease, cirrhosis, liver cancer and death.

This white paper examines the impact of NAFLD and NASH as both a medical and economic crisis among military and civilian populations, and highlights the VA’s strategy to eradicate liver disease, including its broadened contract with Echosens to include the FibroScan mini+ portable technology.