October is National Liver Awareness Month and the American Liver Foundation is encouraging everyone to find out if they are at risk for fatty liver disease through its public awareness campaign, Think Liver Think Life™. Fatty liver disease affects an estimated 80-100 million Americans. Through a simple liver health quiz, available at ThinkLiverThinkLife.org, anyone can find out if they’re at risk and learn what to do next. Two of the most common risk factors for liver disease are diabetes and obesity.
“Finding out if you’re at risk is the first step towards taking positive action for your liver health,” said Lorraine Stiehl, Chief Executive Officer, American Liver Foundation. “Through our liver health quiz, liver awareness events, educational webinars and screenings happening in states throughout the U.S., we will help more people get diagnosed early, take action before it's too late, and live longer, healthier lives.”
The Think Liver Think Life national public health campaign aims to ensure every American understands their risk for liver disease, receives the appropriate diagnostic testing and care coordination and feels well-informed and supported throughout their liver journey. The Think Liver Think Life campaign is modeled after a 2020-2021 pilot ALF conducted with Fundacion Latino Americana de Accion Social (FLAS), a non-profit community-based organization that serves uninsured and underinsured individuals in Houston, Texas. From March 2021-October 2021, 305 at risk individuals were screened for liver disease, and 58% were found to have some form of fatty liver disease.
Fatty liver disease and liver cancer are the first two diseases the campaign will focus on, and it launches today in ten states with liver health awareness and education events, buildings lighting green for liver health and proclamations in: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia. To join free liver health awareness events, register at thinkliverthinklife.org.
Through partnerships and collaborations with key stakeholders, Federally Qualified Health Centers, health departments, diverse faith-based and community groups and other voluntary health organizations, free liver screenings for children and adults will be available in the initial ten states over the coming months for those who are uninsured and at risk. Information will be available at thinkliverthinklife.org.
“We are so grateful to our generous sponsors who are helping us reach those most in need in underserved communities,” added Ms. Stiehl. Sponsorship for the Think Liver Think Life campaign is provided by Premier Sponsor Astra Zeneca, Premier Diagnostic Sponsor Fibronostics, and Supporting Sponsors Mallinckrodt and Pfizer.
Other events happening to raise awareness about liver health are The Educated Patient: A Liver Cancer Conference Presented by Exelixis on October 7th and 8th from 11AM to 2PM ET. This two-day virtual education program is created especially for liver cancer patients and their family members or caregivers. Patients, caregivers and family members can register for free. The conference offers presentations, workshops and opportunities for engagement with leading medical experts, researchers and others knowledgeable about the issues most relevant to those dealing with liver cancer. Read more.
An educational webinar, Living Well with Liver Disease: A Conversation with the Experts, will take place on Thursday, October 27, 2022 from 2PM to 3PM ET. In partnership with Meijer Specialty Pharmacy, this joint webinar will cover topics such as Hepatitis C, fatty liver disease, achieving a healthy weight, sugar intake, foods to include/avoid, understanding your medications, managing medication side effects, liver functions and more. To register visit: www.liverfoundation.org/livingwell.
Future events for Think Liver Think Life include regional conferences focused on fatty liver disease held for both patients and healthcare providers. Topics will cover diet and nutrition, exercise, behavioral health, clinical trials, disease progression, diabetes/liver connection, bariatric surgery and more. These events will be posted on liverfoundation.org.
Those most at risk for fatty liver disease, also known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), include people with type 2 diabetes, high BMI or obesity, and Hispanic and Asian communities. NAFLD is one of the most common causes of liver disease in the U.S. and the most common cause of liver disease worldwide, affecting as many as one billion people. It is the most common form of liver disease in children and has more than doubled over the past 20 years. NAFLD causes excess fat to build up in the liver, has few or no symptoms and its exact causes are still being studied though research points to genetics, digestive disorders, and diet. It is not caused by heavy alcohol use (alcohol-associated liver disease). Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a form of NAFLD causing inflammation of the liver and liver damage, which can lead to liver failure.
Liver cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. among all races, ethnicities, and genders – claiming the lives of approximately 30,000 American adults annually. Liver cancer is the most rapidly growing cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. with rates more than doubling since 1980. Chronic viral hepatitis is the leading “pathway” to liver cancer in the U.S. and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is rapidly increasing as a common cause of liver cancer in the U.S. and worldwide.
The American Liver Foundation is the nation’s largest non-profit organization focused solely on promoting liver health and disease prevention. The American Liver Foundation achieves its mission in the fight against liver disease by funding scientific research, education for medical professionals, advocacy, information and support programs for patients and their families as well as public awareness campaigns about liver wellness and disease prevention. The mission of the American Liver Foundation is to promote education, advocacy, support services and research for the prevention, treatment and cure of liver disease. For more information visit www.liverfoundation.org or call:1 800 GO LIVER (800-465-4837).