2018 was a big year for those trying to raise awareness of NASH, as well as those developing treatments and diagnostic methods. The first International NASH Day was held, a day of action with events in over a dozen cities on four continents.
2019 is already looking to be a major year for progress in the fight against NASH. Recently, Goldman Sachs declared that 2019 will be “The Year of NASH” based on the fact that several BioTech companies are expected to release late-stage trial results of promising treatments.
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.
My mother passed away suddenly four years ago this month after a short battle with late-stage NASH. Which is impossible, but somehow true. Just a few days before being diagnosed with NASH she was celebrating with my wife and I at a housewarming party at the Shore. A picture of her from that party occupies a prominent place on our fridge; the last picture of her before our lives were all changed forever.
I lost my mother suddenly to late-stage NASH when she was only 62 years old. The search for answers and meaning has led me to working with the American Liver Foundation and starting this blog. One thing that has become increasingly clear to me was that my mom’s decades of hypothyroidism could have been a major cause of her progression to NASH. Now, a new meta-study examining 18 years of data has concluded that those patients with primary hypothyroidism are at a 42% increased risk for developing NAFLD, the precursor to NASH. Continue reading “The Thyroid’s link to NASH”→
Earlier this year I wrote about the sobering fact that up to 10% of children in the USA are estimated to be living with NAFLD, with nearly a quarter of them having progressed to NASH. It’s bad enough that millions of children are having to face this disease so early in life but the evidence is actually getting worse for pre-teen children, as research has shown that fatty liver disease progression through NASH to fibrosis and eventual liver failure is significantly accelerated versus the teen or adult population.
The impact of NASH is only starting to be realized. One sobering figure just released by the CDC highlights yet another trend going in the wrong direction. From 2000 to 2016, the mortality rate for liver cancer rose 43%, even while the rates for all other cancers declined.
Let’s get something out of the way up front. Dealing with weight issues is an incredibly emotional and sensitive subject, and as a society we should not focus on shaming, shunning, or victimizing the nearly half of the country that is overweight or obese. By creating a societal image of beauty and attractiveness that ostracizes over a hundred million people in the USA alone, we have done ourselves a terrible disservice.