Benjamin Douglas Xun Liu, MD, internal medicine resident at Case Western Reserve University MetroHealth is speaking up for liver patients during this year’s American Liver Foundation (ALF) Lend Your Voice campaign. Dr. Liu said, “As physicians, our voices matter to legislators just as much as the voices of our patients. We too can affect change by sharing our stories and experiences. It does not require a lot of time, either – the most important thing is to show up with a smile on your face and a true passion for the cause!”
Dr. Liu’s first experience with liver disease was personal. He said, “Right before I started medical school, my mom was diagnosed with liver inflammation. It took several years but she was ultimately diagnosed with Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a progressed form of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD/NASH is manageable and – in many cases – can be reversed, so with the appropriate changes made to her diet and exercise, my mom was able to reverse her symptoms and is doing well today.” Unfortunately, that is not the case for many Americans. NAFLD/NASH is a silent killer and often, people do not even know they have it. In the U.S., NAFLD alone affects between 80 and 100 million individuals and research estimates that NAFLD is present in up to 75% of overweight people and in more than 90% of people with severe obesity. Furthermore, NASH is projected to become the leading cause of liver transplantation in the United States by 2025.
Dr. Liu said, “We need to bring awareness to just how common liver disease is and we must present both the emotional and financial impact of liver disease. Patients do not plan to become diagnosed with liver disease and many struggle with the high financial burden that comes along with it. More legislation like the HELP Copays Act will not just help liver patients but every American.”
ALF Advocates nationwide are currently participating in virtual and in-person meetings with Members of Congress to share their personal connections to liver disease – communicating the medical, emotional, and financial burdens liver disease takes on patients and families. There is nothing more powerful than a personal story. People affected by liver disease need better treatments, lower cost prescriptions, protections for living donors, increased public awareness and investment in research – however – none of that will happen without a collective voice. Learn more about how you can help by visiting our website!
Dr. Liu said, “If detected early, diseases like NAFLD and NASH can be reversed and complications are preventable. I am grateful my mom did not have to experience any complications and I am hopeful that through ALF's efforts, more people will screen and test for liver diseases. I encourage you to please join us and speak up! Your unique background and experience give you the power to change the way people think, and vote!”
Thank you for advocating on behalf of your patients locally and nationwide, Dr. Liu! Because of your voice, we can make a real impact on Capitol Hill and change the face of liver disease! To join Dr. Liu, please visit our website.
Last updated on September 6th, 2022 at 09:40 am