Columbia Asia Hospital spread awareness amongst people about a “silent” liver disease called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) on the occasion of the First International NASH Day which is being observed worldwide on June 12th. Around 32% Indians suffer from NASH.On the occasion, doctors from the leading Ghaziabad-based tertiary care provider conducted a health talk sharing information about the disease with general public. A free check-up camp for hepatitis B and C screening was also organized and liver function test (LFT) was conducted for all the participants free of cost.” said Dr Manish Kak, Consultant- Gastroenterologist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad.
“This is the first time ever initiative to spread awareness in people about the disease. Most of the patients remain unaware of their condition before the disease has progressed. It is important we make efforts to alert the masses of the importance of regular checkups in preventing the disease. People should also be well aware of the various factors that can lead one towards the possibility of liver failure due to NASH. We organized a successful camp for the disease today. Over 30 people and above participated in today’s event and underwent testing. We have strongly propagated a life style change to those who seemed to be under threat” said Dr Manish Kak.
A liver disease characterized by fat retention, inflammation and tissue damage, NASH can affect a person who never drinks or drinks occasionally. The disease is in fact known to affect even children. Unlike other liver diseases NASH is mostly asymptomatic and manifests signs once the disease has progressed.
“NASH takes years to progress and in some patients it may not progress at all. However, the progression leads to the accumulation of scarring, or fibrosis, in the liver. As fibrosis worsens, cirrhosis develops and the liver becomes permanently damaged and is no longer able to work properly. Beyond fibrosis and cirrhosis, NASH may progress to hepatocellular carcinoma and liver failure. The situation is really concerning as patients have no idea what it happening to their body as the disease may give very insignificant or no signs of prevalence “ Said Dr Manish.
Patients generally feel healthy in the early stages and only begin to have symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, and weakness, once the disease has advanced or cirrhosis build up. A person with cirrhosis experiences fluid retention, muscle decaying, intestinal bleeding, and liver failure.
While obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance and abnormal level of lipid and fat in the blood play a great factor for the disease to occur, there is no known treatment for the disease but prognosis can decrease the risk for liver failure.
“Patients diagnosed with NASH can develop cirrhosis almost 7 years from the time and further progress of the condition will lead to liver failure. By 2020 NASH potentially can replace hepatitis from the leading position for liver transplant. Lack of awareness of the disease is has a crucial role to play for the situation. It is a silent disease so, to be on the safer side a routine blood check up to see the level of liver enzyme is advisable. In case of any rise in liver enzyme a needle biopsy test must be run on the patients to take the call whether it is a fatty liver or NASH. There is no universally approved treatment for the disease but after the prognosis a radical lifestyle change only can eliminate further complication” added Dr Manish Kak.
Lifestyle changes are encouraged for patients with NASH, which includes reducing body weight (if obese or overweight), Following a balanced diet, being more physically active and avoiding alcohol. Weight loss can improve liver tests in patients with NASH and may put the disease on a hold to some extent.