(NewsUSA) - One quarter of the global population is estimated to have a liver disease called Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), a condition where the liver consists of 5 percent or more fat. Untreated, this disease can lead to the more severe Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis which can result in cirrhosis, liver cancer, or liver transplant.
These liver diseases may become life-threatening without any noticeable symptoms, which is why screening is vital. For people who are at high risk, such as those living with obesity, pre-diabetes, or type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor about your liver health and get screened as early as possible. In the past, the best way to diagnose liver disease was by performing a liver biopsy, a procedure where a small piece of the liver is removed using a long needle and then analyzed in a lab. Liver biopsies can be painful, risky, expensive, and unreliable. Complications can include bleeding, infection, accidental injury to a nearby organ, and even death. A typical liver biopsy can cost more than $7,000. Additionally, a biopsy relies on using a tiny fraction of the liver, which means more than 30 percent of liver biopsy diagnoses may be wrong.