Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is a 21st century epidemic that has no simple diagnostic tool or treatment, Medscape reports.
About 85 million Americans have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and while 80 percent of them have steatosis, 20 percent have NASH. Ten-year market projections for fatty liver disease have the direct cost of the disease at $1.01 trillion, and the disease often leads to developing other issues like diabetes and advanced fibrosis.
Twenty percent of NASH patients will develop advanced fibrosis, which contributes to liver failure. Patients with both fatty liver disease and Type 2 diabetes develop fibrosis faster and are more likely to develop end-stage liver disease than patients without diabetes.
The growing epidemic has created increased awareness among medical societies, with several developing guidelines calling for increased vigilance and screening. A physician also recently published a proof-of-concept study for a test that can detect NASH or fatty liver disease with high accuracy.
While the threat of NASH is high, progress is being made to combat the epidemic and prevent it from progressing.
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