This February Echosens is recognizing the importance of American Heart Month, a time when the nation turns its attention on heart disease, the leading cause of death for men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease, and about 655,000—one in four—Americans die from heart disease each year.
This year, the federally designated event is even more important, given the impact of the coronavirus on the public’s heart health, including potential harmful effects on the heart and vascular system.
We also want to point out that patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the accumulation of lipids in liver cells not associated with the consumption of alcohol, have an increased risk of coronary artery disease compared to the general population. NAFLD affects roughly 100 million Americans and costs the United States healthcare system $32 billion annually.
Heart and Liver Connection
Evidence suggests that NAFLD is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events, regardless of traditional risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia and obesity.
Given the spike in NAFLD—which runs parallel with the rise in obesity—and its association with poor cardiovascular outcomes, it has become an imperative for physicians and specialists to properly manage NAFLD to reduce the burden of associated cardiovascular events.
Lifestyle Change and FibroScan®
In most cases, both liver disease and heart disease are preventable by adopting a healthy lifestyle, which includes not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol, treating high blood pressure and getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. Even modest lifestyle changes can have a big impact, with 3% to 5% weight loss documented to improve liver health.
During American Heart Month, join us in raising awareness about the connection between liver disease and heart health so that more Americans can live longer, healthier lives.