Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of chronic liver disease and is now projected to become the leading cause of liver transplants within the next decade. Fatty liver disease develops silently and signs and symptoms become obvious only when it becomes irreversible. Most people who die of the disease don’t realize they have it until the very late stage. Therefore screening people with risk factors of liver disease is critical in catching the disease early.
Reddy Cardiac Wellness and Diabetes Reversal Center of Sugar Land, Texas is announcing the availability of FibroScan, a newly approved technology to accurately and painlessly diagnose liver disease. FibroScan is an ultrasound-based vibration-controlled transient elastography (VCTE) device used to asses liver elasticity for the detection of significant fibrosis and for the diagnosis of cirrhosis in hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus, biliary liver disease, alcoholic liver disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
A FibroScan test eliminates the need for a liver biopsy, where a 6-inch needle is inserted into the liver to extract a sample for testing under a microscope. In addition to being painful, biopsies are expensive, running as high as $7,000. FibroScan tests are dramatically less expensive.
FibroScan was first introduced in Europe in 2003 and received clearance by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April 2013. Now, FibroScan has a newly developed controlled attenuation parameter (CAP) that detects and quantifies steatosis, the fatty accumulations in the liver cells. It can precisely tell you how much fat is in your liver.
As of now, the Reddy Cardiac Wellness and Diabetes Reversal Center is the only center in the state of Texas that has the CAP capability in their FibroScan machine. The population of the greater Houston area can surely take advantage of this technology to have their livers checked for the silent fatty liver disease.
The American Liver Foundation estimates that 1 in 10 Americans has liver disease. Liver disease is the fourth leading cause of death among adults 45-54. More than 6 million children in the U.S. have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and the wrongful diet most Americans eat could be to blame.
People with fatty liver can develop a more serious form of fatty liver called steatohepatitis in which the fat causes inflammation that leads to fibrosis or ‘scarring’ of the liver. Once the liver is replaced with scar tissues, it will develop cirrhosis and liver failure. This is the only time you will have signs and symptoms. By then it could be too late. The only way to prolong life at this point is to have a liver transplant. But the most important questions to ask are: who are you going to ask for a liver and how sure are you that the donor’s liver you are getting is healthy?