A form of liver disease has quickly emerged as a public health threat

Living with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Renee Terney’s Journey

A Silent Killer

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a silent killer, with some patients not experiencing any symptoms for years. That was the case for Sheraden resident Renee Terney, who had no idea what was wrong until she underwent a blood test and further diagnostic tests confirmed her diagnosis. With extensive damage done to her liver, doctors realized that a transplant was likely necessary to save her life.

The Causes of NAFLD

At the root of NAFLD is poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity. In most cases, behavior modification like exercise and improved diet can slow or even reverse the progression of the disease. Unfortunately, there are no medications to assist with treatment, and its severe and advanced forms can lead to conditions identical to those caused by alcoholism.

The Shortage of Donated Organs

For patients in need of a transplant, time is of the essence with only 6,500 transplants performed each year out of 17,000 people on the waiting list. According to the American Liver Foundation, non-alcoholic fatty liver is already “the most common liver disease in most of the Western World” affecting 30 million Americans and counting.

An Inspiration to Keep Going

Renee credits her partner Nancy Burns with supporting her fight, as well as her five adopted children who served as an inspiration to her. Now more than a year after her transplant surgery, Renee is feeling great.

Raising Awareness About NAFLD

Though heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes have been long been the subjects of public awareness campaigns, NAFLD remains largely unknown and misunderstood among the U.S population. It doesn’t help that obesity has become increasingly prevalent in recent decades, as it puts people at risk not only for NAFLD but also cardiovascular diseases and other health conditions. The urgency to raise awareness about this issue cannot be understated – especially when it comes to children and teenagers who have an ever increasing risk of developing fatty liver disease and facing premature death from the condition.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/06/29/231842/a-form-of-liver-disease-has-quickly.html


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