FOR YOUR HEALTH: What Blood Cancer Patients Need To Know

New patient information form.

Knowing your MRD status can help you move forward with confidence when planning for all of life’s ­moments.

(NAPSI)—If you or someone you know has ever had blood cancer, a term you might have heard is “minimal residual disease,” or MRD. MRD refers to the small number of cancer cells that can stay in the body during and after treatment. Often, these cells are present at such low levels they do not cause any physical signs or symptoms. However, they may be a sign that cancer is returning.

As one of the strongest predictors of patient outcomes in blood cancer, MRD status can help you and your doctor understand how your body is responding to treatment and how it may change over time. When your MRD status shifts, you may find that the course of your blood cancer journey changes as well.

clonoSEQ® is an FDA-cleared test used to detect MRD in bone marrow from patients with multiple myeloma or B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) and blood or bone marrow from patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Testing is ordered by your doctor and performed by a licensed lab. clonoSEQ can detect very low levels of MRD—one cancer cell among a million cells (provided sufficient sample input)—so you and your doctor can be confident in your MRD status and prepared to act quickly if the cancer returns.

Talk to your doctor. If you have a blood cancer, talk with your care team about your MRD status to pinpoint where you are with your disease and develop a plan that works for you. To find a specialist and learn more, visit and ask your doctor if clonoSEQ MRD testing is right for you.

Routine MRD testing may help detect the return of cancer before physical signs and symptoms arise. Knowing your MRD status can help you move forward with confidence when planning for all of life’s moments.

clonoSEQ is available by prescription use only. For more important information about the FDA-cleared uses of clonoSEQ, including sample types and test limitations, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Consuming healthy foods and beverages

A display of fresh vegetables, beans, fruit, fish, lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, and milk.Being aware of food portion size, the kinds of foods and beverages you consume, and how often you have them may be a step to help you make healthier food choices.

What kinds of foods and drinks should I consume?

Visit to learn more about what kinds of food and drinks to consume and what kinds to limit so you can have a healthy eating plan.

Consume more nutrient-rich foods. Nutrients—like vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber—nourish our bodies by giving them what they need to be healthy. Adults are encouraged to consume some of the following foods and beverages that are rich in nutrients

  • fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains, like oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and brown rice
  • seafood, lean meats, poultry, and eggs
  • beans, peas, unsalted nuts, and seeds
  • sliced vegetables or baby carrots with hummus
  • fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products

If you’re sensitive to milk and milk products, try substituting

  • nondairy soy, almond, rice, or other drinks with added vitamin D and calcium
  • lactose-reduced fat-free or low-fat milk
  • dark leafy vegetables like collard greens or kale
Fruit, colorful veggies, beans, fish, and low-fat dairy products are rich sources of nutrients that give our bodies what they need to be healthy.

Consume less of these foods and beverages. Some foods and beverages have many calories but few of the essential nutrients your body needs. Added sugars and solid fats pack a lot of calories into food and beverages but provide a limited amount of healthy nutrients. Salt does not contain calories, but it tends to be in high-calorie foods. Adults should aim to limit foods and drinks such as

  • sugar-sweetened drinks and foods
  • foods with solid fats like butter, margarine, lard, and shortening
  • white bread, rice, and pasta that are made from refined grains
  • foods with added salt (sodium)
  • whole milk

Easy snack ideas. Instead of sugary, fatty snacks, try

  • fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt
  • fresh or canned fruit, without added sugars
Making better choices, like baking instead of frying chicken, can help you cut down on the added sugars and solid fats you consume.

How can I follow a healthy eating plan?

These tips may help you stay on track with your plan to eat healthier.

  • Reduce the overall calories you consume. If you consume more calories than you use through daily living, exercise, and other activities, it may lead to weight gain. If you consume fewer calories than you use through physical activity, it may lead to weight loss.
  • Have healthy snacks on hand. Whether you are at home, at work, or on the go, healthy snacks may help combat hunger and prevent overeating. Look for snacks that are low in added sugar and salt. Your best bets are whole foods—like baby carrots, fresh fruit, or low-fat or fat-free yogurt instead of chips, cakes, or cookies—rather than packaged or processed foods.
  • Select a mix of colorful vegetables each day. Choose dark, leafy greens—such as spinach, kale, collards, and mustard greens—and red and orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, and tomatoes. If you have had kidney stones, be aware that some vegetables, like spinach and sweet potatoes, are high in oxalate, a chemical that combines with calcium in urine to form a common type of kidney stone. So, if you have kidney stones, you may need to watch how much of this you eat. But for others, these are great choices. Eat a rainbow of food colors!
  • Choose whole grains more often. Try whole-grain breads and pastas, oatmeal, or brown rice.
  • Shift from solid fats to oils. Try cooking with vegetable, olive, canola, or peanut oil instead of solid fats such as butter, stick margarine, shortening, lard, or coconut oil. Choose foods that naturally contain oils, such as seafood and nuts, instead of some meat and poultry. And use salad dressings and spreads that are made with oils rather than solid fats.
  • Switch from frying to baking or grilling. Instead of fried chicken, try a salad topped with grilled chicken. Instead of ordering fries when eating out, ask for a side of steamed veggies.
  • Limit foods and beverages that are high in sugar and salt. Avoid snack foods high in salt and added sugars; and keep away from sugary soft drinks.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods. The Nutrition Facts label tells you how many calories and servings are in a box, package, or can. The label also shows how many ingredients, such as fat, fiber, sodium, and sugar—including added sugars—are in one serving of food. You can use these facts to make healthy food choices.
Select a mix of colorful fruits and vegetables each day.

How much should I consume?

How much you should consume each day depends on your weight, sex, age, metabolism, and how active you are. In general, men need more calories than women. Younger adults need more calories than adults in midlife and older. At all ages, adults who get more physical activity need more calories than those who are less active.

Keeping your food and beverage portions in check may help you reach or stay at a healthy weight. To learn more about a healthy eating plan and the amounts of food and beverages that are right for you, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH — Mask Matters: Why Selecting The Right Mask Provides Pandemic Protection

(NAPSI)—Experts of all sorts now say face masks are a must to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Someone you meet could have the coronavirus and not realize it. Not all masks work equally well, however, researchers have discovered. Here are some of the most important features to look for when choosing a mask, according to the latest conclusions.

Mask Types and Filtering Effectiveness

When it comes to what types of masks are best, there are different levels of protection. A Lancet study shows 96% protection from N95 masks with single layer cloth masks offering as little as 5% protection. N95 masks are considered the best of the best but they may be hard to find because healthcare workers are the top priority due to their high exposure to COVID. Where does that leave you? Masks with an FDA 510k approved N95 substantial equivalent mask which passes and even exceeds all the FDA tests required for an N95 mask.

“There is no reason for consumers to have such a low level of protection with a cloth mask when N95 substantial equivalent masks are now becoming available in the 100s of millions and bring an average of 97% protection to consumers,” says COVID Educator and former TV Chief Medical correspondent Bob Arnot, MD.

“N95 and surgical masks are the most effective at preventing the spread of coronavirus—that’s why everyone should reserve them for healthcare workers,” adds Dr. Arnot. “The good news is, saving N95 masks for healthcare workers doesn’t leave you vulnerable: you just need to choose a mask that’s designed to deliver the protection and filtration properties of these masks.”

Breathability Is Important

Your mask needs to allow enough air flow that you don’t struggle to breathe, since you’re more likely to keep your mask on if you’re comfortable whether you are at the gym or shopping at your local market. Ideally, the air flow should be through the weave and not through gaps around the mouth or eyes.

A face mask has good breathability when the wearer’s breath can filter through the material. If it’s too dense, air escapes out the sides and doesn’t let the mask do its job. The mask has to catch water droplets from coughs, sneezes, and talking and protect against the minute airborne virus. Look for nano-fiber material for both lightweight breathability and protection from pathogens.

Mask quality counts

COVID is continuing to surge even with masking.

“Mask quality and usage is very important. Many masks are of such poor quality that they fail to protect with prolonged exposure in stale air,” says Dr. Arnot. “People don’t realize that a single layer cotton mask may provide only 5% protection versus 97.6% on average for N95 substantial equivalents. I was looking for masks to protect myself, my family and my community and came across’s FDA 510k approved N95 substantial equivalent.’s next generation technology brings an average of 97% protection, which helps protect you and those around you.” I’ve bought over 2000 for local schools and family. The customer service has been superb.

“N95 and surgical masks are the most effective at preventing the spread of coronavirus—that’s why everyone should reserve them for healthcare workers,” advises Dr. Arnot. “The good news is, saving N95 masks for health-care workers doesn’t leave you vulnerable: you just need to choose a mask that’s designed to mimic the protection and filtration properties of these masks.

Air Queen masks are made of nano-fiber that’s lightweight, comfortable, and arranged in a fishnet matrix for optimal filtration, durability and breathability. This, coupled with its excellent filtration protection, puts it on the same tier as the high-grade PPE healthcare workers use. Best of all, also offers a 75% ethanol spray which lets you clean the mask up to 10 times with full efficacy making it very affordable, about 20 cents a day.” Shoppers applying the code ‘SAFE’ at will receive a 10% discount.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Why Long-Term Care Should Be A Retiree’s Top Concern

Many Boomers have not properly planned for their retirement care needs—but it’s not too late and help is available.

(NAPSI)—For many Boomers, retirement may involve taking vacations, taking up a new hobby, and spending more time with family, friends and the grandchildren.

In anticipation of these activities, Boomers work diligently to build up their next egg. But as Boomers age, and as healthcare costs rise, one item they must account for is care in retirement. Unfortunately, too many are failing to prepare.

According to the Center for Secure Retirement and Bankers Life, 79% of middle-income Boomers have no money set aside specifically for their retirement care needs.

With this in mind, they should take the following steps to help protect their nest eggs:

1.Keep moving. Good physical health can lead to a more active life, improved mental and emotional health, and reduced medical expenses. By keeping yourself healthy and fit, you may be able to lower your premiums and potential future costs. Set time aside each day to stay active—your health and your bank account will thank you.

2.Save, save, save. It’s never too early to start financially planning for retirement care. Recent data from the Center for a Secure Retirement and Bankers Life shows that more than half (54%) of working adults say their retirement planning has taken a hit amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Protect yourself from further unforeseen impact by taking advantage of tools and resources that can help you better prepare for the high costs of long-term care.

3.Talk to your children and family members. Although it can be difficult, it’s important to have conversations about how you want to be cared for as you age. You may want to stay in your home and receive care in-place, or you may expect loved ones to provide this care. It’s helpful to include a financial planner in these conversations to provide an unbiased answer to your family’s questions. Sharing preferences and developing a plan can help make the transition easier and give you and your loved ones peace of mind.

It’s never too late—or too early—to seek help and to better understand your financial plan and current healthcare coverage to try to prepare for unforeseen situations in the future.

Learn More

For further facts and tips on planning for retirement, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Many Older Americans Heading Into The Holidays Feeling Depressed

The isolation of the pandemic can cause some older Americans to feel depressed—but doctors can help.

Nearly Two-Thirds Of Seniors Who Feel Depressed Won’t Seek Treatment

(NAPSI)—Many older Americans say they feel depressed—yet the majority of them are not planning to get help, according to a new national survey—though it could make a tremendous difference in their health and well-being.

With the onset of colder weather, fewer daylight hours, and the effect of the pandemic on holiday celebrations and traditions, more seniors than ever could be struggling with depression.

The GeneSight Mental Health Monitor reported that about two-thirds of adults 65 and older who are concerned they may be suffering from depression say they won’t seek treatment. That’s compared to fewer than half of adults over age 18. In addition, three in 10 of these older adults think “they can just snap out of it.”

“The ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ mindset and reluctance to talk about mental health may be preventing seniors from getting the help they need,” said Dr. Mark Pollack, chief medical officer of Myriad Neuroscience, makers of the GeneSight test, a genetic measure that identifies potential gene-drug interactions for depression medication. “People seek treatment for conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. Depression is no different. It is an illness that can and should be treated.”

One GeneSight patient, Carmala Walgren, a 74-year-old resident of New York, agrees that depression should be treated regardless of age.

“There is such a stigma about depression among people my age,” said Walgren. “It is worth it to find treatment that helps you.”

Canceling Holiday Celebrations and The Effect on Mental Health

The pandemic is taking a toll on the mental health of older Americans. Nearly one in four people over age 65 said that the news about the pandemic has left them “feeling consumed with sadness.” For those seniors who think they might have depression, the number climbs to nearly 4 in 10. Concerns about COVID are also why more than one in three seniors worried about being depressed say they are “somewhat” or “very likely” to cancel holiday celebrations such as Thanksgiving.

Even as some consider canceling holiday festivities, isolation from friends and family remains a concern. Just under half of these seniors say they feel “isolated and disconnected from family,” compared with 28% of all respondents over age 65, and 24% of respondents over age 18.

Connecting Can Help with Depression

Parikshit Deshmukh, M.D., CEO and medical director at Balanced Wellbeing, LLC, specializes in geriatric psychiatry. According to Dr. Deshmukh, families should make plans to connect virtually if they don’t feel comfortable about getting together in person. Further, caregivers should be vigilant in looking for the signs of depression in their older loved ones.

“It’s more important than ever to let each other know we care and that we are not alone—even if it feels that way,” said Dr. Deshmukh. “Video calls might not be for everyone. Yet, if that’s the only way to stay in touch, we need to do it.”

And Dr. Deshmukh reminds seniors to talk to their doctors. “If your clinician recommends treatment, ask about the GeneSight test. The results can help them make decisions about medications to treat your depression.”

That’s just what Carmala Walgren’s doctor did. “The results I got from this personalized genetic test helped my doctor and me to finally find the medication that worked for my depression.

He told me that because I was covered by Medicare, there would be no cost for me to take the test.

“The GeneSight test made such a difference in my life,” added Walgren. “I don’t know where I would be without it, especially now.”

Learn More

For further information on older adults and depression, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Supporting Children And Teens In Managing Their Diabetes

Young people with diabetes need support from the adults in their lives.

(NAPSI)—Diabetes is not just an adult disease. It’s one of the most common chronic conditions affecting children and teens in the United States. Today, it affects about 193,000 youth under 20 years of age and rates of newly diagnosed cases in young people are increasing.

When a young person has diabetes, it can be difficult to determine whether the disorder is type 1 or type 2. In either case, managing the diabetes is very important for long-term health.

Children and teens need support from their parents or other adult caregivers to manage their diabetes. Research shows that managing diabetes best works when adults and youth work as a team. The young person can gradually take on more responsibility, with the adult monitoring from a distance and making changes as needed.

Here are the main tasks that need to be covered in a diabetes plan:

Manage blood glucose levels. An important goal for youth with diabetes is to take medicines as prescribed, at the right time, and in the right dose—even when they feel good or have reached their suggested target for blood glucose goals. Research shows that health complications can be greatly reduced, delayed, or possibly prevented by keeping blood glucose levels near normal. It’s also important to consistently take prescribed blood pressure or cholesterol medicines.

Adopt healthy habits. Youth with diabetes should follow a healthy eating plan that allows enough calories for growth but avoids added sugar and fat. Getting enough sleep is also important. Some strategies that parents and youth can negotiate are to turn off electronics before bedtime and to keep a regular sleep schedule. A third important healthy habit is regular physical activity. If possible, youth should check blood glucose levels before, during, and after a game or a sport, to help monitor blood glucose levels.

Stay prepared for emergencies. A “go kit” that young people can assemble with help from adults includes at least a week’s worth of medical supplies and equipment, a three-day supply of food, emergency and health care professional contact lists, a medication list including doses and dosing schedules, and an allergy list. During the COVID-19 pandemic, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes can be added to the go kit. Adults can reinforce with young people the value of social distancing, along with use of these go kit supplies, to prevent spread of infection.

Monitor for diabetes complications. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce risk for heart disease, vision loss, nerve damage, and other related health problems.

Seek mental health support. It can be very helpful for young people with diabetes to connect with others their own age who also have diabetes. This can help reduce stress and anxiety and boost motivation for sticking to a plan to manage their diabetes. The young person’s health care team should have information on youth support groups (online or in-person) and other mental health resources.

The National Institute on ­Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) spearheads research to help improve diabetes management and treatment in children and teens. “Our understanding of how type 2 diabetes affects youth is still maturing,” says NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. ­Rodgers. “We must continue to explore treatments to ensure that these young people can live long, healthy lives.”

For more information on managing diabetes, visit the NIDDK website,

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Your Ophthalmologist Is Ready To See You

If you haven’t seen an eye care professional in a while, suggests Doctor Ruth Williams, now may be a good time to do so.

(NAPSI)—When ophthalmologist Ruth Williams, MD, opened her office after shutting down early in 2020 due to the pandemic, she was surprised to see how many people had developed serious eye problems in just a few months.

Preventive care is especially important in eye care because many common eye diseases can rob you of your good vision before you notice signs of trouble.

“Far too often, we witness the consequences of patients entering the ophthalmologist’s office too late to avoid severe vision loss,” said Dr. Williams, a glaucoma specialist at the Wheaton Eye Clinic in the Chicago suburbs. “Protecting vision is such a high value thing.”

The good news is ophthalmologists—medical and surgical physicians trained to recognize all the potential threats to vision—have figured out how to safely practice medicine in the era of COVID. Dr. Williams says most eye doctors hope not to shutter their offices again.

EyeCare America Can Help

If the cost of an eye exam is a concern, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America program may be able to help. This national public service program provides eyecare through thousands of volunteer ophthalmologists for eligible seniors 65 and older, and those at increased risk for eye disease, mostly at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient. As one EyeCare America patient said, “Because of your program, my vision will be saved. The doctor was professional, and the diagnosis was spot on. EyeCare America is a beautiful thing!”

Who Should See an Ophthalmologist?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends all adults have a comprehensive eye exam by age 40, and every year or two after age 65.

Other reasons to see an ophthalmologist include:

1. If you are experiencing new symptoms, including blurry, wavy or blank spots in your field of vision.
2. If you injure your eye, even if it seems minor. Damage to the eye is not always obvious and may require treatment.
3. If you get eye injections for an existing eye disease and have not done so during COVID-19, you should contact your ophthalmologist now.
4. If you’ve put off surgery, such as cataract surgery, during COVID-19, you should contact your ophthalmologist.

Safety Procedures During COVID

Ophthalmologists have taken many steps to create a safe environment during the pandemic. Your ophthalmologist is probably ready for you. Here is what you should expect to see:

  • The clinic is likely to restrict the number of people who enter. If you don’t need someone to be there with you, don’t bring anyone to your appointment.
  • The clinic may ask you to wait outside or in your car, instead of in the normal waiting room.
  • Expect to see hand sanitizer when you enter the building and in the waiting room and exam rooms.
  • Expect to be asked to wear a mask.
  • Chairs will be spaced out to accommodate social distancing.
  • Cleaning will occur more frequently throughout the clinic.
  • As usual, exam rooms and equipment will be thoroughly cleaned after every patient exits.
  • Expect to be asked a series of questions to determine your risk profile.
  • Expect someone will take your temperature.
  • Your ophthalmologist may use a special plastic breath shield on the slit lamp machine they use to look into your eyes.
  • Your eyecare professionals may ask you to wait to speak until after your eye exam is complete. Then they can talk with you and answer questions when they can be a safe distance from you.

Learn More

For more information regarding EyeCare America and to see if you or someone you care for qualify, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Water Stations Keep Kids Safe, Hydrated In School

Bottle-filling stations in schools, while a good thing in 2019 when this photo was taken, are even more important for health and safety today.

(NAPSI)—If you’ve ever been the parent of a school-aged child, you know the drill. A new school year means a new list of required school supplies. And these days the list is definitely different.

Hoping to prevent the spread of coronavirus this year, most schools sent parents shopping for items such as face masks, hand sanitizers and personal water bottles.

Normally, students can quench their thirst at school water fountains. But there’s nothing normal about this school year. And after the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction recommended schools discontinue the use of shared drinking fountains, many did just that.

But that meant some schools didn’t have a convenient, affordable way to keep students hydrated throughout the day. That’s one of the reasons the Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation decided to offer more water refill stations to schools in need through its Cool Water program. The foundation is the charitable arm of Delta Dental of Wisconsin.

Today, more people understand the importance of adequate water intake to overall health as well as dental health. Drinking enough water can help increase energy levels, decrease headaches, and improve cognitive function. Water, especially when fluoridated, can help reduce cavities and protect tooth enamel by washing away harmful bacteria.

Youth who drink water during the day are also less likely to consume sugary beverages, which can help to reduce excess weight gain and diabetes. Yet over half of U.S.. children and teens are not properly hydrated.

Through its Cool Water program, the Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation provided grants to dozens of Wisconsin schools to help them replace existing drinking fountains with water-bottle filling stations. The program covers the cost of installation and a supply of reusable water bottles for students and staff.

This year, the Foundation paid for water bottle filling stations and their installation—valued at over $100,000—to dozens of schools across the state.

The touchless systems ensure that learners stay well hydrated while helping to prevent the spread of germs. Many schools also have fluoridated water, adding extra protection for teeth.

Almost all water contains some of the naturally occurring mineral fluoride, but the levels are usually too low to prevent tooth decay. That’s why most U.S. communities—and dozens of developed countries worldwide—add very small amounts of fluoride to their public water supplies.

“In optimal amounts, fluoride is proven to be a safe way to make teeth stronger and more resistant to cavities,” says Dr. Greg Theis, DDS, MBA, Dental Director at Delta Dental of Wisconsin.

“In fact, every $1 invested in fluoridation saves $32 in costs to treat dental problems,” he adds. “As a parent and a dentist, I’m pleased to know more of Wisconsin’s students will have the advantage of fluoridated drinking water during the school day, and I’m proud that Delta Dental of Wisconsin can help make an impact.”

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Making Diet Decisions During A Pandemic

(NAPSI)—Dreadful as the pandemic has been, for some people it has meant a positive health change. Three in 10 Americans made a major change to their diet during this time, according to new research.

As with most changes, the big question always lingers—will the changes last?

The study suggests they may well. Seven in 10 of those respondents said their new diet has lasted longer because they did it during the ongoing pan¬demic, versus if they made the change at another time.

What the Study Showed

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Herbalife Nutrition, the survey looked at specific changes respondents made. Of Americans surveyed, 47% started eating more plant-based foods, while 54% started eating more fruits and vegetables—and 43% made an effort to eat less meat.

Results also found that a third of American respondents cut out or ate less sugar, and 39% cut down on the number of treats they ate.

Why the Choice to Change Now? 

For many respondents, it was because they had extra time on their hands. In fact, fifty-three percent said they had more time to research healthier foods, while 51% said they had time to cook more and learn new recipes.

In addition, 40% said they were away from such negative influences as office snacks, while 37% wanted to use this time to make a positive change.

A third made the change to accommodate their loved ones. For nearly one in four the cost of meat was the cause, and for another quarter, it was on the advice of a healthcare professional.

“There is never a bad time to make a positive change in your lifestyle, especially when those changes lead to lasting, healthy results,” said Dr. Kent Bradley, Chief Health and Nutrition Officer, Herbalife Nutrition. “During this pan¬demic it appears more individuals are choosing quality nutrient-dense sources like those found in a plant-based diet.”

When asked about their current diets, 75% said they eat meat while 18% identified as “flexitarians,” and the rest were vegan or vegetarian.

Yet plant-based diets might be on the rise: 61% of respondents said they’d like to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet, but they aren’t sure where to begin. The survey also found 40% of American respondents are more open-minded about plant-based foods and “meatless meat” options during the pandemic. In a similar survey conducted last year, half of respondents were more open-minded about plant-based foods and “meatless meat” and 70 percent believed meatless meat would continue to grow in popularity.

Bradley added, “I commend all those who are empowering themselves in the midst of this pandemic and have found a way to create new healthy habits.”

FOR YOUR HEALTH – Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Are You At Risk?

If you are overweight or obese, weight loss can improve nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

(NAPSI)—Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common liver diseases in the United States. NAFLD is typically a silent disease with few or no symptoms, and most people have no complications. However, some people could develop serious complications such as cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Learn more about NAFLD, factors that increase your risk for NAFLD, and research that is leading the way toward new treatments.

What is NAFLD? 

NAFLD is a condition in which excess fat is stored in your liver and the buildup of fat isn’t caused by heavy alcohol use.

A more severe form of NAFLD called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) also causes inflammation and liver damage. NASH can lead to liver cancer, permanent liver scarring called cirrhosis and liver failure. If you develop liver failure, you may need a liver transplant to survive.

Who is at risk for NAFLD? 

If you have certain conditions such as obesity, high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes, you might be at risk for NAFLD. As obesity rates have increased in the United States, NAFLD has also become more common. Research suggests that NAFLD currently affects 30% to 40% of U.S. adults and up to 10% of U.S. children.

Although NAFLD may occur in people of all races and ethnicities, it is most common among Hispanics, followed by non-Hispanic whites. NAFLD is less common among African Americans.

Are there treatments for NAFLD? 

Weight loss can improve NAFLD. For people who have NAFLD and are overweight or have obesity, doctors may recommend gradual weight loss through healthy food choices and physical activity.

At this time, no medicines have been approved to treat NAFLD or its severe form, NASH.

Progress in NAFLD Research 

Medical research is seeking to better understand and treat NAFLD. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), conducts and supports NAFLD research. In the past decade, NIDDK-supported researchers have discovered that specific genes play a role in causing NAFLD. These genes may help explain why NAFLD is more common in some racial and ethnic groups than in others.

NIDDK-sponsored studies are also testing possible treatments for NAFLD. For example, an early study suggested that the natural form of vitamin E and a diabetes medicine called pioglitazone may improve some aspects of NASH in adults. More research is needed to see if these treatments are safe and effective.

The Future of NAFLD Treatment 

The NIDDK, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, continues to invest in research that will deepen our understanding of NAFLD and may lead to new ways to treat this liver disease and prevent its complications.

To learn more about NAFLD and NIDDK’s liver diseases research, visit the NIDDK website.