A Need for Monitoring Liver Health, Obesity, and Diabetes to Halt the Progression of NAFLD
Dec 9, 2019, Published in Business Wire
Echosens today announces the release of our white paper, “Understanding NAFLD & NASH in the Non-Liver Specialist Setting”, examining the growing role that healthcare practitioners (HCPs) play in treating individuals who are obese and have Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), a significant contributor to advancing fibrosis and asymptomatic non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Data shows that no more than 20% of people with diabetes ever see an endocrinologist, underscoring the need for increased vigilance at the point of care to address the associated onset and prevalence of NAFLD and the value of an examination with FibroScan, a painless, five-minute screening that can be used to diagnose and monitor liver health.
HCPs and specialists are called upon to better manage patients with diabetes, in light of a disturbing trend that up to 30% of adults have NAFLD, of which 79% have normal aminotransferase levels. Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), the more severe form of the disease, increases the risk of cirrhosis and is now the most rapidly growing cause of hepatocellular carcinoma among U.S. patients listed for liver transplantation. People with NAFLD were found to have higher rates of cancer, with the greatest increase observed for gastrointestinal cancers. Now more than ever, it’s important to identify asymptomatic patients who may be at risk for advancing disease and to enable earlier intervention.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with T2DM and elevated liver enzymes be assessed for NASH, and while the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) does not currently recommend routine screening for NAFLD or NASH, it does recommend FibroScan as part of an overall approach to identifying patients with T2DM at heightened risk for advanced fibrosis.
Fortunately, NAFLD can be reversed through diet and lifestyle modification if caught in the early stages, potentially avoiding progression to NASH or Fibrosis. For HCPs, educating patients and adopting innovative technology are the first steps toward battling the liver disease epidemic, enhancing the patient experience, improving the health of populations and reducing the per capita cost of health care.Jon Gingrich, CEO Echosens North America