According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of Americans are either overweight or obese. This is leading to a number of growing health concerns. One of these concerns is currently the leading cause of liver disease, which could affect 6 million Americans.
Doctors are seeing an overwhelming increase in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Of those, approximately 20% will develop a disease called Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis, or NASH. Of those individuals who develop NASH, about 20% – 30% will go on to develop cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease – when it reaches this point, a liver transplant is the only treatment option.
NASH is a condition that often sneaks up on patients with little warning. Ultrasounds and CT scans given by a medical professional can sometimes miss the warning signs and not see the disease until it is in the late stages of development. Common symptoms: pain in your right side, swollen stomach or ankles and even vomiting blood. Some patients can develop brain changes that may seem like dementia or Alzheimer’s initially, but in reality they are what is called hepatic encephalopathy.
In order to prevent NASH, you need to catch it in its early stages. Patients should try to lose weight, maintain a healthy diet and exercise, exercise, exercise!