At the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, the liver transplant group is busy treating a rush of patients who have come from all over the country hoping for a chance at life. For many, liver transplantation is their last hope after being diagnosed with a deadly disease that is sweeping the nation in epic proportions. People crowd into the department and undergo numerous tests and assessments to get to the hospital's coveted transplant list. It is a program with a survival rate of 94 percent after liver transplantation, one of the highest in the nation.
The effects of the disease include fibrosis, ascites (fluid retention in the abdomen) and varices in the blood esophagus and liver cancer – are devastating. "By 2020, NASH will overtake hepatitis C as the leading cause of liver transplants in the US," says Dr. Maria Yataco, a gastroenterologist, is researching NASH and liver disease at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.
What is even more frightening is the fact that liver specialists are seeing ever younger patients with this disease due to rising obesity. "Today we see people in their 20s and 30s using NASH," says Dr. Leona Kim-Schluger, hepatologist and professor at the Recanati / Miller Transplantation Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. "There is even NASH in the pediatric population."
"It is currently estimated that the US is spending $ 5 billion annually on health-related illness-related illnesses, including chemotherapy, transplants, testing, and hospitalization," says Health Home-Razavi, managing director of the Center for Disease Analysis is working with health ministers around the world to collect data and help them develop a national health strategy for NASH. "But the cost will rise to $ 18 billion by 2030 if that disease is not controlled."
Despite the large risk population of US patients, the CDC has not addressed the crisis and there is no FDA-approved treatment. Experts point out.
Worse, the signs of the disease are asymptomatic, so a person is often not diagnosed with NASH until late in life, when cirrhosis of the liver begins to devastate the body. Laurent Fischer, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Drug Development at Allergan.
At this time, the only option is a transplant to avert death. This is because doctors usually do not look at fatty liver disease as part of the annual physical patients they give to patients when they are looking at other life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, breast and colon cancer.