Echosens Points to Connection Between Diabetes and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
November 5, 2019
This November during National Diabetes Month, Echosens urges individuals and communities to help raise awareness about the impact of diabetes. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. One in 10 Americans have diabetes — more than 30 million people — and another 84 million adults are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
As part of this national focus, we want to draw attention to the relationship between nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), an asymptomatic condition characterized by elevated levels of fat in the liver, and diabetes. As a common complication of Type 2 diabetes and obesity, NAFLD can be an overlooked comorbidity.
Fortunately, a growing number of primary care providers and liver specialists recognize that NAFLD has become the most common chronic liver disease in developed countries. It is characterized by insulin resistance and hepatic triglyceride accumulation in the absence of co-existing etiologies, such as excessive alcohol consumption, viral hepatitis, medications or other etiologies for hepatic steatosis.
Diabetes, NAFLD and Cardiovascular Disease
This year’s National Diabetes Month focus is on the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD)–which is also connected to NAFLD. The more severe form of NAFLD, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), is associated with necrosis, inflammation and fibrosis. NASH has few symptoms and often normal plasma aminotransferases. Nevertheless, it is a leading cause of end-stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and significantly increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and CVD.
Many factors lead to CVD in patients with Type 2 diabetes and NAFLD, with many of them tending to have more severe hepatic insulin resistance leading to progressive deterioration of glycemic control.
FibroScan®: Fast, Painless Assessment
To help clinicians combat the spike in NAFLD among patients with Type 2 diabetes, we offer FibroScan, a non-invasive, painless and quick examination, designed to quantify the stiffness of the liver via proprietary and patented technique of VCTE ™, a medical non-imaging modality that quantifies the stiffness of liver tissue. In addition, FibroScan also measures CAP™, a quantification estimate of liver fat. Together these measures provide consistent information about the presence or status of disease, which is important in the diagnosis and monitoring of NAFLD.
FibroScan is designed to be performed by a medical assistant in the physician’s office, and is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans. Rapid results and test scores are analyzed by the physician, empowering health care providers with data and information that they can use in real time to refer patients to a specialist or recommend changes to their overall care plans, if needed.
In recognition of National Diabetes Month, we are pleased to announce the growing availability of FibroScan for diagnosis and monitoring as a tool that can make a critical difference in the lives of individuals with diabetes who also face chronic liver disease.