As employers struggle to adjust to the “new normal” and find the most optimal way to manage population health, chronic care disease management (CCDM) promises to be the most effective approach for treating patients with comorbidities, such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity—both of which have been linked to liver disease. In fact, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NALFD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are highly prevalent in people living with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and are recognized not only as leading causes of liver disease, but also contributors to increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality among people living with Type 2 diabetes.
Although its progression rate may be slower than other types of liver disease, the incidence of NASH, and its link to hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and MetS, is increasing throughout the world. Currently, new NASH/antifibrotic therapies are being evaluated in clinical trials and are expected to lead to even higher costs.
For employers, payers and plan members alike, it is important to recognize NAFLD so that early intervention can be implemented. Lifestyle modifications and strict control of metabolic risk factors are the most effective treatment. The benefits of managing chronic disease is to not only improve health and reduce medical costs, but also to create a more productive workforce and healthier patient population.
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