GLI Declares New Global Public Health Epidemic in Light of Startling Lack of Awareness
Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis will next year be the number one cause of liver transplants
Washington, DC – June 12, 2019 – Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) is a potentially fatal condition affecting up to 12% of adults worldwide, an estimated 115 million people around the globe, yet in a recent survey, only 6% of at-risk individuals had ever heard of the condition. Leaders in liver health advocacy, The Global Liver Institute (GLI) i s declaring NASH a “hidden epidemic,” marking June 12th as International NASH Day to shine a spotlight on NASH and raise awareness of the little-known symptoms of this disease and the need for better diagnosis and treatment options.
On International NASH Day, GLI is coordinating dozens of organizations and events worldwide to educate on this disease and advocate for patients who have and are at risk for NASH. NASH is the progressive form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and approximately 20% of NAFLD patients develop NASH (1). NASH is where fat globules accumulate in liver cells, leading to cell death and the development of inflammation. With years of chronic inflammation, scar tissue begins to form and cause liver fibrosis and when fibrosis is severe, it becomes cirrhosis, which can result in liver failure and liver cancer. The only cure for NASH cirrhosis at this time is a liver transplant. NAFLD and NASH are major risk factors for other health conditions: more than 70% of patients are obese, up to 75% have type 2 diabetes, and anywhere from 20-80% have hyperlipidemia.
“We feel an urgent need to raise awareness for and educate on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis so that these liver diseases are included in every healthcare conversation when obesity and diabetes are mentioned,” says Donna R. Cryer, JD, CEO, Global Liver Institute. “We are spearheading a global effort for adoption of non-invasive tests so that early detection and diagnosis of these diseases is easier and we can begin to stem the tide of this global epidemic.”
NASH is poorly-known, under-diagnosed, and as such represents a growing global public health issue in most countries including the United States. Approximately 30 million Americans have NASH and the prevalence is expected to increase by 63% by 2030 in association with increased obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Despite its prevalence, there is still a lot more work to be done to properly address NAFLD and NASH. GLI and its partners are working to not only stem the tide of this rapidly increasing epidemic but reverse it. A major focus of IND is to promote early intervention and make sure that all populations at risk for developing NASH know to talk to their doctor about getting screened. GLI has developed a complementary campaign called Beyond the Biopsy to accelerate acceptance and adoption of non-invasive technologies as an alternative to biopsy, so more people can be screened and diagnosed before they develop NASH.
Global Liver Institute is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt not-for-profit organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States. GLI’s vision is for liver health to take its place on the global public health agenda commensurate with its prevalence and impact. GLI’s mission is to improve the impact of the liver community by promoting innovation, collaboration, and scaling optimal approaches to eradicating liver diseases. GLI is the global host of International NASH Day.
For more information on International NASH Day go to www.GlobalLiver.org/IND or lend your support on social media using hashtag #NASHday.
(1) Spengler EK, Loomba R. Recommendations for diagnosis, referral for liver biopsy, and treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2015;90(9):1233–1246.