Growth in Patient and Medical Community Engagement in NASH Community Persists Despite Recent Regulatory Disappointment

Washington, D.C., June 08, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today is International NASH Day, a time where healthcare experts and community members around the globe step up and raise awareness of the most common liver disease in the world – nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – and it’s more severe form, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Fatty liver disease is a condition in which excess fat builds up in the liver, which can lead to scarring and cirrhosis (permanent damage that impairs liver function). An estimated 25% of the global population, or about 2 billion people, are affected by NAFLD. 20% of those with NAFLD progress to NASH.
International NASH Day 2023 is endorsed by 30 medical specialty societies from around the world, and more than 50 global organizations, from research institutions to community organizations to medical centers and more, will be hosting events to inform and educate their communities.
“By releasing new, multilingual resources to help patients access NASH diagnostics and treatment, leading even more awareness and educational events worldwide, and continuing to foster opportunities for patients to step up and speak out, GLI and its partners are stepping up for those with or at risk of NASH this year,” shared Donna R. Cryer, JD, President and CEO of Global Liver Institute. “We have been heartened through collaboration with the broader patient advocacy community on health technology assessment (HTA) and regulatory processes. Together we have made certain that the patient voice is the clear, powerful force that it ought to be.”
While NASH can develop at any point in life, many of the factors that heighten an individual’s risk of developing NASH are well-known, including overweight or obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. 
Despite established risk factors, too often patients in high-risk groups are still not triaged, not screened, and not connected to the care they require. We are grateful that, just this year, several societies have updated their treatment guidelines for identifying and caring for NAFLD/NASH to reflect our best current understanding of the disease. We are grateful to the scientists who have expanded our understanding of – and ability to control – the disease. It is time for health systems to step up and invest effort in operationalizing these new guidelines.

We urge health system leaders to step up and examine the NASH patient pathway, identify where patients are lost, and bolster those processes. 
We encourage primary care and endocrinology providers to step up and learn which of their patients are at heightened risk of NAFLD/NASH – and to connect them to the screening they need.
We challenge the media to step up against the stigma and cover stories about NAFLD/NASH and liver health, especially when discussing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other risk factors.
We implore regulators to step up for the livelihood of the millions of patients around the world whose lives are affected by NAFLD/NASH.

Clear, strong connections between primary care providers, specialists, and intervention support are all critical – and within reach – to help more patients find and stop the progression of NASH while they have the opportunity.
“It can be overwhelming how widespread the chronic, progressive disease of NAFLD and NASH has become. Those at risk should know they are supported and empowered to step up for a healthier liver,” encouraged Jeff McIntyre, VP of Liver Health Programs at Global Liver Institute. “Ask your doctor for a screening if you have a risk factor – and receive the treatment you need before the disease progresses. Individuals can make small changes with big impacts to support better liver health through better nutrition and incorporating more movement into their daily habits. Although fatty liver disease can progress, it can be controlled if caught early. Get screened now for a healthy liver.”
It’s time to #StepUpforNASH! 

Join the Movement
Get tested! Check if you are at risk for NAFLD/NASH and make a note to talk to your primary care provider at your next appointment.
Support the #NASHday social media campaign using hashtags #NASHday #StepUpforNASH. Please direct any additional questions to NASHday@globalliver.org.

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About Global Liver Institute 
Global Liver Institute (GLI) is a patient-driven 501(c)3 nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in the EU and UK, founded in the belief that liver health must take its place on the global public health agenda commensurate with the prevalence and impact of liver disease and the importance of liver health to well-being. GLI promotes innovation, encourages collaboration, and supports the scaling of optimal approaches to improve research, care, and policy. By bringing together more than 200 community-based, national, and international organizations across its councils, campaigns, and events, GLI equips advocates to identify and solve the problems that matter to liver patients. Follow GLI on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. GLI is the global host of International NASH Day.
International NASH Day and its logo are registered trademarks of Global Liver Institute.


Christine Maalouf
Global Liver Institute
communications@globalliver.org

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