February 11, 2021
What the Future Looks Like for People with Fatty Liver Disease
The number of people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has risen across the world in recent years. From 1990 to 2017, patients diagnosed with the condition increased from 391.2 million to 882.1 million. Common ways to treat the disease revolve around lowering cholesterol, healthier eating, and living a more active lifestyle.
When the disease is spotted early, treatment is often easier. Unfortunately, current NAFLD treatment faces extra challenges – such as the global pandemic.
Individuals suffering from fatty liver disease are at a higher risk of developing more serious conditions with other illnesses. Since stay-at-home pandemic orders are still in force worldwide, living a more active lifestyle has become even more challenging.
Patients with NAFLD may be worried about the future. How will they carry on treating and managing their condition? Read on to find out, and how technology will work in your favor.
What Is NAFLD and Why Is It Difficult to Manage?
NAFLD involves the gathering of excessive fat within the liver. The condition is caused mostly due to unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits.
NAFLD has the potential to develop into more severe health conditions. Up to 30% of NAFLD sufferers will go on to develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Sufferers are then in danger of developing cirrhosis.
NAFLD, which affects just under one in three people in the US, costs the healthcare sector over $30 billion each year.
One reason the disease is so hard to manage is that you can’t rely on symptoms alone. Most sufferers only realize they have NAFLD when the condition has become more serious.
Another reason managing NAFLD is challenging is that many might find maintaining a healthy lifestyle difficult. The stress of modern life, work, and not having opportunities to be more mobile all play critical roles in the disease’s prevalence.
How Our Understanding of the Disease Has Changed
In recent years, medical professionals have gained a greater understanding of NAFLD.
According to NCBI, “Weight loss is the cornerstone treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; however, it is difficult to achieve and maintain, so pharmacotherapy was developed. The remarkable evolution in understanding disease pathogenesis has led to the development of new medical therapies and even the modification of currently available ones.”
Besides now having medicine that can help combat NAFLD, researchers have learned more about the disease’s history. Moreover, they have a better understanding of external life factors that can cause the disease’s onset.
What NAFLD Sufferers Need
Efficient ways to tackle NAFLD are a well-balanced diet and regular exercise. However, many patients aren’t well-educated in either respect. It’s up to doctors to help them with this.
Offering dietary support to NAFLD sufferers is essential. Eating plans should be tailored to their individual needs while ensuring patients are neither overeating or undereating. Regular mentoring is key.
Long term, the only way to maintain a healthy lifestyle is by knowing how to do so. This is where coaching comes in. Beyond offering meal plans, healthcare workers must educate their patients on nutrients and macros. It’s also vital to show them what they need to look out for on food labels.
In addition to nutrition-related coaching, patients need to know the benefits of exercise as well as being provided exercise recommendations they can try. Also reiterate how much of a difference even simple movements like walking can have.
Making lifestyle changes, especially when it comes to health, can take a toll on the mind. Mental health support is imperative for NAFLD sufferers, especially in times of national and economic uncertainty. By helping to reduce their stress levels, sufferers can achieve greater health overall.
How Digital Healthcare Can Help Practitioners Diagnose the Disease and Manage Patient Symptoms
While a lack of symptoms can make NAFLD hard to detect, they do not make it impossible to diagnose. In particular, digital healthcare can play an essential role in helping to identify the disease.
Digital healthcare allows patients and doctors to test for NAFLD without meeting face-to-face. Doctors can use the technology to monitor blood pressure, blood sugar, and heart rates. Digital healthcare can also be used to perform imaging tests, and weigh patients to determine if they are at risk of developing NAFLD.
After NAFLD is diagnosed, digital health solutions like Chronic Care Management and Remote Physiologic Monitoring (RPM) also help to manage the disease better. A patient’s condition can be monitored more closely and round-the-clock to offer support when needed.
How Can ChronWell Help?
ChronWell offers the technology and digital health solutions to help patients identify NAFLD and other potential liver conditions. We partnered with Echosens and ModifyHealth to bring LIVErHEALTHY to the market.
As part of the LIVErHEALTHY program, doctors can also offer patients nutrition programs that have been proven to help fight against NAFLD, NASH, and more. The program also seeks to engage patients as much as possible, which keeps them interested and more likely to report both better results and higher satisfaction. NAFLD sufferers will also receive a plan tailored to their specific needs.
To find out more about our digital health solutions for managing NAFLD and other liver conditions, contact one of our experts.