Screening Utah communities for liver disease

Every community is different, and each community has different challenges. When it comes  to healthcare, this principal works the same way. 

Dr. Richard Gilroy, hepatologist and medical director of the liver transplantation clinic at Intermountain Medical Center, works with different populations to help address issues that impact their liver health. 
 
The Intermountain Medical Center liver team recently attended two health fairs targeting two different populations. Hispanics and Pacific Islanders. Each population faces different viruses or diseases that impact their liver more than other populations. 
 
Pacific Islanders and those born in Asia
This population has the highest incidents of hepatitis B. Those born in Tonga have rates as high as eight percent of the country's population. Those born in Vietnam are as high as 11 percent. Liver cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in the world. In Pacific Islanders, more than 75 percent of liver cancers are caused by the hepatitis B virus. The good things is, active hepatitis B infections can be treated and the cancer prevented, but only if people know they have it.
 
Hispanics
Hispanics are around 15 percent of Utah’s population and they are the population with the highest incident of NASH, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. NASH is an inflammation and damage of the liver caused by a buildup of fat in the liver. 
 
Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis 
Utah has the highest percentage of people on a liver transplant waitlist due to PSC than anywhere else in the country. The good news for Utahns is that new research is providing hope that we may be able to treat this condition.

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