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International NASH Day Draws Attention to Severe Liver Disease

on June 12, 2020

(NewsUSA) - An advanced form of liver disease known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) affects more than 115 million people worldwide and is expected to double by 2030. If left untreated, NASH may result in serious outcomes, including cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver transplant, or death.

NASH is the advanced form of a chronic, progressive fatty liver disease called NAFLD (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease). NASH and NAFLD occur when fat accumulates in liver cells and causes cell inflammation and injury. Symptoms of NASH can be difficult to recognize and many people are unaware that they have the condition until it has progressed. NASH is the second leading cause of liver transplant in the US, and is predicted to become the leading cause. However, the early screening by a healthcare provider and the adoption of lifestyle changes can slow disease progression and may even reverse the condition if it is identified in early stages.

To raise awareness of NASH and NAFLD, the Global Liver Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for greater awareness of liver health issues, hosts International NASH Day on June 12, convening more than 80 partners from around the world to draw attention to the most pressing topics in the fight against NASH.

This year the event is endorsed by the major hepatology organizations in both the United States and Europe: the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the European Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

"International NASH Day unites and inspires a collective call to action, which is never more urgent than in 2020 when we are set to yield the harvest of years of diligence and investment in drug and diagnostic technology development and momentum in awareness and policy," says Donna R. Cryer, JD, founder and CEO of the Global Liver Institute. "We must make the most of this moment together."

Millions of people worldwide are at risk for the potentially fatal liver disease of NAFLD and its more severe form, NASH, which is expected to double by 2030. NASH is a major risk factor for many other health conditions. People living with NASH usually have one or more metabolic disorders (such as obesity, type II diabetes, or cardiovascular disease). Thirty-seven percent of people with obesity have NASH. Similarly, 37% of people with type 2 diabetes also have NASH. Under- identified and untreated, NASH may result in serious outcomes including cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver transplant, or death. Now more than ever, the COVID-19 pandemic adds additional risks for those with NASH.

This year's event includes virtual panels featuring 30 experts from around the world who will describe current challenges and collaborate on innovative cross-disciplinary solutions to prevent, identify, treat, and improve the lives of people living with NASH. The virtual panels are scheduled for 7 am-4:15 pm EDT on June 12. The event will also be posted on June 16 @gliliver, and on June 17 on GLI'S YouTube channel.

Topics include NASH as a global health crisis, as well as NASH in special populations, such as children and cancer patients. In addition, medical experts emphasize how factors that increase the risk of NASH, namely obesity, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure, also increase the risk of serious illness for individuals infected with the COVID-19 virus.

Find out more about International NASH Day at international-nash-day.com.

For more information on preventing and managing all types of liver disease, visit GlobalLiver.org and follow the Global Liver Institute on Twitter @GlobalLiver, Facebook @GlobalLiver, and Instagram @globalliverinstitute.

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