Currently there is a silent epidemic of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) among at-risk patients with Type 2 diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol.18 Consuming a high-fat, high-sugar diet causes a harmful accumulation of fat in the liver that can lead to irreversible damages.
NAFLD refers to all liver disease severity stages, characterized by a build-up of hepatic fat not caused by excessive alcohol consumption. NAFLD is the most common chronic liver disease worldwide8.
In some patients, NAFLD leads to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Most patients with the presence of a metabolic syndrome.19,20
Risk factors and predictors of NAFLD
of the worldwide population have NAFLD8
of type 2 diabetes mellitus patients have NAFLD9
of type 2 diabetes patients have advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis
NASH is characterized not only by steatosis but also by lobular inflammation and hepatocyte injury.18,20
1.5-6.45% of the worldwide population have NASH, this prevalence is expected to increase by 63% between 2015 and 2030.10,17
NASH is the second most common etiology of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), requiring liver transplantation.17
Assessment of liver stiffness and fat by non-invasive method is a huge step forward towards better management of NAFLD. It has hugely impacted the way clinicians stratify the patients, chose therapy and monitor response!
If patients with NAFLD are left undiagnosed and not treated promptly, they can develop irreversible cirrhosis of the liver, or NASH.18
Both steatosis and fibrosis can be evaluated easily by non-invasive methods allowing adequate treatment and follow-up.20
Diagnosis of NAFLD can be challenging because most patients are asymptomatic and are only identified by routine blood tests that show elevated liver enzymes. A subset of patients can have normal liver enzymes and remain undiagnosed.18
If detected and managed at an early stage, you can stop NAFLD from progressing and help at-risk patients reduce the amount of fat in the liver.19 Diet and exercise are the mainstay of management in patients with NAFLD.18
International Clinical Practice Guidelines now recommend that screening for NAFLD should be part of routine work-up in patients with type 2 diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.2
Damage to the liver caused by chronic liver diseases can often be reversed by early diagnosis and intervention. 6
As a clinical researcher, I rely heavily on FibroScan® to select the right patient for the right study. Clinical trials in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis typically include patients with specific fibrosis stages. It is thus important to have reliable fibrosis assessment and avoid unnecessary liver biopsies.
Echosens wishes to give the voice to health experts to exchange and fight this epidemic. A range of educational webinars on NAFLD-NASH are available in our webinars library.