Edinburg, TX (April 26, 2021) – The prevalence of chronic liver diseases particularly among Hispanics in the United States has been steadily increasing in the last 2-3 decades.

It is estimated that over 30% of people of Hispanic ethnicity in our community are suffering from chronic liver diseases namely Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH). While NAFLD/NASH are highly associated with many metabolic conditions (such as type 2 diabetes,  obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, etc.), there is a strong genetic predisposition particularly in Hispanic population.

This trend has been made more alarming by the pandemic spread of obesity in children as weight-gain during school-years carries a higher risk of NAFLD/NASH than weight-gain in late adulthood. Therefore, both nature and nurture play a significant role in the steady increase in the incidence of NAFLD/NASH in people of Hispanic ethnicity. 

NAFLD is a silent form of chronic liver disease that is suspected after elevated liver enzymes are detected in patient’s blood and is subsequently confirmed by MRI and liver biopsy. NASH is the detrimental form of chronic liver disease that if untreated, progresses to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Unlike in the past, NAFLD/NASH are now the leading causes of liver transplantation in the United States. Unfortunately, currently there is no FDA approved drug in the market to treat NAFLD/NASH necessitating the need to conduct clinical studies particularly in ethnic groups most affected by this disease.

“We are involved in a number of cutting-edge and innovative clinical trials aimed at the prevention and/or delay in progression of chronic liver diseases such as NAFLD/NASH,” said Dr. Sohail Rao, president and chief executive officer, DHR Health Institute for Research & Development. “Working with our community that is at a much higher predisposition to develop these chronic liver diseases, we are determined to find a treatment for this growing endemic.”

To get more information and/or to refer your patient, please contact (956)362-8047 or (956)362-2390 or visit dhrresearch.org

About DHR Health for Research & Development

DHR Health Institute for Research & Development, affiliated with DHR Health, is a nonprofit organized under the Federal Internal Revenue Service Code 501(c)(3). As the largest and the most comprehensive entity conducting translational and clinical research in South Texas, DHR Health Institute for Research and Development leads the way in bringing innovative, state-of-the-art advanced treatment options for our patients in the community. To learn more, visit our website at www.dhrresearch.org

About DHR Health

DHR Health was founded in 1997 to help over 1.4 million residents resolve limited health care access challenges in a community that lacked public and county hospitals. Today, it is a modern, 500+ bed full-service health system serving over 280,000 patients annually, with 5500+ employees, over 650 physicians and more than 1,400 nurses dedicated to offering a full continuum of care in over 70 different specialties and subspecialties. DHR Health proudly boasts the best specialty care in the region, a 24/7 functioning level-one trauma center, a robust clinical research division, and developing graduate medical education programs. DHR Health has revolutionized the health care landscape of the Rio Grande Valley and continues to raise the standard of care and transform the health care delivery model for the benefit all local residents. To learn more, visit our website at www.dhrhealth.com.