More than 80 million Americans have this deadly disease, and many don’t even know it

CNBC has a special article on the NAFLD/NASH epidemic in America, with a bunch of sobering statistics.

Like many adverse medical conditions, NAFLD — and especially the more progressive form of the disease — is linked to obesity. Dr. Loomba says that 90 percent of the patients diagnosed with NASH are either overweight or obese.

Perhaps the most alarming aspect of NAFLD, says researchers, is that in its mildest form it typically causes no signs or symptoms, isn’t readily picked up in a routine physical, and currently there are no drugs on the market to treat it (although several are in the pipeline).

Being a financially focused news organization, the article also talks about the massive investments in potential treatments by many bio-pharmaceutical companies.

And with the obesity epidemic showing no signs of abating, demand for drugs to treat fatty liver disease is forecast to remain strong for decades, with the market for a NASH drug estimated to be anywhere from $20 billion to $35 billion.

Finally, the Doctor who was interviewed for the piece, Dr. Jay Horton, had some very basic advice for how to prevent NAFLD and NASH.  Dr. Horton is renowned expert in steatosis and a researcher into fatty liver disease.

Dr. Horton’s prescription for preventing fatty liver disease is quite simple: “Stay thin,” he says. “The key is insulin resistance related to obesity. Anything that helps you to stay thin and have normal insulin sensitivity will prevent this disease.

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