The link between Gallbladder Disease and NASH

When my mom passed away at 62 years old six weeks after being diagnosed with a disease I’d never heard of before, it sent me searching for answers. NASH is still widely unknown and the etiology is not well understood. Yes, it is largely linked to obesity, but there are many other risk factors that seem to be playing a role. One such factor that I discovered last year was the link between hypothyroidism and NASH, which my mom had for decades.

Recently I have been working on some projects on how the liver works, and found myself intrigued when writing about the function of the gallbladder. For those that are unaware, its main function is storing bile to be used in the digestion of fats. As I wrote about it, alarm bells began ringing in my head. NASH is the end stage of fatty liver disease, caused by an excess buildup of fat in the liver.

Gallbladder surgery (known as cholecystectomy) is one of the most common surgical procedures in the world, with over 600,000 procedures performed annually in the USA. It is considered completely safe with no long-term negative effects. My mom had her gallbladder removed years ago after suffering gallstones, as is the standard medically recommended procedure. I wondered if there was any studies on possible links between it and NASH, and began searching.

The answer is a resounding yes. Not only is there a strong correlation between gallbladder disease and NASH in several studies, but there is an even stronger independent link between cholecystectomy and NAFLD/NASH.

Continue reading “The link between Gallbladder Disease and NASH”

Have TWO friends? Chances are, one of you has a Fatty Liver.

This headline sounds like hysteria, but the sobering reality is that nearly a third of the population of the USA has NAFLD.  This is just one of the many facts presented on this outstanding NASH brochure.  I love the simplicity of the Q&A nature of this factoid, and have been speaking with the author, Tony Villiotti.

Tony is a NASH transplant survivor and the founder of the NASH Education Corporation, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit focusing on increasing awareness and providing educational materials for NASH.  I’ve been wanting to write about patients living with NASH for quite some time and Tony was generous enough to agree to an interview for a profile piece, the first ever on NASH AWARE.

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One of Tony’s goals is to get this brochure placed in health care locations, health fairs, and other places where it can reach a wide audience.

Continue reading “Have TWO friends? Chances are, one of you has a Fatty Liver.”

Modest alcohol consumption may REDUCE mortality in patients with NAFLD

A new study from New York Presbyterian Hospital has some eyebrow-raising findings.  We already know that drinking coffee is good for the liver, but you would expect to find less evidence of a positive relationship with alcohol.  Yes, there have been plenty of studies that show a glass of wine can be good for you, but never one that highlighted an actual positive link.

This study goes even further and finds that moderate drinking can actually lead to a reduced mortality risk in patients with NAFLD.  Wut??? Continue reading “Modest alcohol consumption may REDUCE mortality in patients with NAFLD”

Viking Therapeutics delivers promising results in NALFD trial

It’s another promising result from one of the dozens of bio-pharmaceutical companies trying to find treatments for fatty liver disease.  Viking Therapeutics announced results from an early study of NAFLD patients that exceeded expectations yesterday, sending the stock soaring 122%.

trial Continue reading “Viking Therapeutics delivers promising results in NALFD trial”

NASH cases projected to increase 63% by 2030

From Medscape comes an informative article about the growing problem of NAFLD & NASH.  The article presents the troubling projections in the growth of non-alcoholic liver diseases in the USA.

The current worldwide prevalence of NAFLD is approaching 25%.[7] The prevalence of NAFLD in the United States is increasing, owing to a rising incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus.[8,9] Current US projections indicate a 21% increase in NAFLD numbers, leading to a 33.5% overall prevalence by 2030. Coupled with a 63% increase in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH),[9] there will be a 168% increase in the number of patients with decompensated end-stage liver disease, and a 137% increase in the numbers of patients developing HCC from NAFLD. The growing numbers of NAFLD patients with hepatic fibrosis[8] indicate that end-stage liver disease from NAFLD will probably become the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States.[10]

The rest of the article talks about and summarizes all of the useful information available, from lean NASH to treatment options, and includes updated guidance from AASLD (American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases).

Check out the entire article.

Up to 10% of all children in the USA may have NAFLD

There is not a wide amount of awareness of NASH even among the highest at-risk adults, but there is also an increasingly worrying trend of increased NAFLD & NASH diagnosis in children, some extremely young.  Alarmingly, studies have found that progression from NALFD to more advanced NASH was quicker and more severe than in adults.

There isn’t a lot of empirical data available on younger children and the disease, but several studies have been undertaken in an attempt to understand the prevalence of the disease.


Continue reading “Up to 10% of all children in the USA may have NAFLD”

We cannot be PC about our health

There is a disturbing trend in social health movements to ignore medical realities in favor of mental wellness.  That is, to pretend that a medical condition isn’t a threat because to acknowledge it may hurt someones feelings.  I’m here to tell you that non-alcoholic steatohepatitis doesn’t care about your feelings; it will kill you all the same. Continue reading “We cannot be PC about our health”

What is NASH?

NASH is the acronym for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.  It’s a type of advanced liver disease that is clinically indistinguishable from alcohol-induced liver damage, but whose causes are totally different.  Late stage NASH leads invariably to chronic cirrhosis and ultimately liver failure and death.  The most common cause of NASH is long-term obesity, and so the threat has grown in relation to the rising rates of obesity in western society.  Therefore NASH is quickly becoming an epidemic, with estimates of 15 to 30 million Americans living with the disease, the vast majority of whom are undiagnosed.  They are living with a ticking time bomb inside their bodies. Continue reading “What is NASH?”