Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) was formally defined about 35 years ago. Even after 15 years of research, there is still no cure or FDA-approved therapy to treat it. We’ve learned a great deal about the inner workings of NASH, but many still wonder, “why the slow progress?” Misconceptions, in general, are never helpful, particularly when it comes to medicine. The tricks hiding the truth of NASH have caused more than a diversion from research. Knowing the facts could literally save your life.
Trick: Fatty Liver disease isn’t serious.
Truth: Fatty liver is caused when there is an abnormal buildup of fat stored in the liver. A simple fatty liver isn’t as problematic to the degree NASH is, but the continued accumulation of fat can trigger chronic inflammation. Over time, this process can begin to damage and scar your liver and develop into NASH. NASH is a more severe form of fatty liver disease that can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.
Trick: There’s nothing you can do about NASH.
Truth: There are indeed no FDA-approved treatments. However, specific lifestyle modifications and various medical and surgical treatments have proven effective in altering the disease course.
Trick: NASH only affects alcoholics.
Truth: Chronic alcohol abuse is one of the top causes of fatty liver disease, but other causes are also. For example, viruses, unhealthy lifestyles, genetics, and autoimmune diseases frequently cause NASH too.
Trick: Lean people don’t need to worry about NASH.
Truth: NASH can affect anyone, no matter their age, weight, or gender. Indeed, NASH occurs more frequently in overweight individuals, but between 7-10% of leaner individuals can develop it too.
Hidden Dangers of Myths
The prevalence of NAFLD and NASH continues to grow by epidemic proportions each year. Many people with fatty liver don’t even know they have the condition because symptoms aren’t apparent until later. Through increasing public awareness of accurate information regarding the risks, symptoms, and early detection, we can begin to turn the tables on NASH.
At Impact Research Institute, we offer FREE fibroscans for adults at risk of liver disease. If results indicate the presence of liver disease, enrolling clinical trials may be an option. Schedule your FREE fibroscan today! Call (254) 294-4780 or request an appointment online through our website today!