It is time for another installment of Liver Disease Facts. Remember that October is Liver Disease Awareness Month. And also remember that I am totally borrowing these facts from Shawnee.
1. About 15,000 children are hospitalized every year with pediatric liver diseases or disorders. How sad is that?? Nobody would accuse the kiddos of having liver disease because of alcohol. Just saying.
2. More than 15,000 patients are currently registered on the liver transplant waiting list of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), while only about 4,500 cadaver donor livers become available for transplantation each year. That is a seriously scary statistic. It seems so simple, just be an organ donor.
3. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFL) and Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), obesity-related chronic liver disease, may affect as many as one in every four adults over the age of 18. Thin people or of average build can also get fatty liver. In fact, people can develop fatty liver even if they do not experience any health conditions such as obesity or diabetes. See, "Nonalcoholic".
4. Drugs can cause liver disease in several ways. Some drugs are directly injurious to the liver; others are transformed by the liver into chemicals that can be injurious to the liver directly or indirectly. (This may seem strange in light of the liver's important role in transforming toxic chemicals into nontoxic chemicals, but it happens.) There are three types of liver toxicity; dose-dependent toxicity, idiosyncratic toxicity, and drug allergy. The most important examples of dose-dependent toxicity are: Tylenol (acetaminophen), statins (cholesterol reducers), Niacin, Amiodarone (Cordarone), Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), many antibiotics, NSAIDs, and even some vitamins and herbs. This is exactly why it is so difficult to treat all of Rick's conditions. Since his liver is already damaged that rules out the use of so many drugs that could potentially help with the other diseases. But we of course do not want to risk damaging the liver any more, or speed up the liver failure process.
So are you bored yet? It is so important to me to get the word out that liver disease can affect anyone. Young or old. Healthy or maybe not so healthy.