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Dr. Parvez Mantry Discusses NASH and Liver Transplant with Patient for East Texas Now

Dr. Parvez Mantry and Mitch Henderson, a liver transplant patient, recently spoke to KLTV’s East Texas Now in Tyler about Mitch’s transplant due to NASH, a form of fatty liver.

View the full video interviews here

NASH is a condition in which excess fat builds up in the liver. The liver helps process food ingredients and packages them into various energy stores. It also eliminates harmful substances and toxins from the body. Too much fat in the liver leads to inflammation thereby damaging the liver and causing scarring also called liver fibrosis. If the inflammation goes unchecked the scarring progresses and in some patients leads to cirrhosis and even liver cancer.

Henderson suffered from NASH for 15 years, but he didn’t realize how serious it was until his local doctor took one look at his pasty complexion and called an ambulance. His liver had failed and he had to spend four days in the hospital to stabilize his liver function.

Henderson was referred to Dr. Parvez Mantry at The Liver Institute in Tyler where he underwent numerous testing that revealed he required a liver transplant. Roughly two years after he applied for a transplant, Henderson got the call at night on November 1, 2019, that a liver had become available.

Henderson underwent a 10-hour surgery to receive the healthy liver of a middle-aged stroke victim. He sailed through post-operative care and was home within a week. He continues to maintain good health and has been become a local advocate for NASH awareness.

Transcription of Dr. Mantry’s interview below:

Tell us a little more about NASH disease, I feel like it is as not as commonly talked about compared to other diseases such as heart disease. What should people look out for?

NASH, Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis, is inflammation and damage to the liver, not due to alcohol. It is extremely common, with over 12 million Americans impacted. NASH is on the rise due to obesity and diabetes, especially in certain regions including Texas. NASH often goes undiagnosed due to unawareness. Like most liver diseases, NASH patients may experience no symptoms. Therefore those with NASH do not know about it until it has progressed to very late stages, like in the case of Mitch Henderson.

Does NASH affect a specific age group, body type, or cultural background?

Anyone can get NASH. We have seen adolescents, young children, as well as people in the 70’s and 80’s. The most important group of patients that should be careful and get tested for NASH are those with persistent obesity (BMI greater than 30) and those with type 2 diabetes or a combination of both. Other conditions that could be indicators for NASH include hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and metabolic syndrome. Often patients with NASH will also have subtle elevations in their liver enzymes when they have received their annual physical from their primary care physician. If someone has any of these conditions, we urge them to get checked out so we can diagnose them early.

Some of these indicators of NASH you sound like things that we can do to help us less prone to getting NASH. What are your recommendations to decrease the risk of getting NASH?

90% of our weight is made in the kitchen, I encourage maintaining good mental health and discipline when it comes to mindful eating. Eating green leafy vegetables, reducing portion sizes as well as intermittent fasting and calorie control in addition to cutting down sugar will help to maintain a healthy diet.

Sugar is my go-to. What are some good alternatives to our sweet tooth indulgent like cookies and brownies?

Substituting sugar with protein is a great alternative. Protein bars, natural juices such as kale juice are a great healthy choice.

What can people do to be proactive to get checked for NASH? Are there any screenings or testing I should ask my doctor about for NASH?

If you think you have a liver problem due to underlying indicators or risk factors, ask your primary care doctor to refer you to a liver specialist. We can perform a simple test called a Fibroscan that is a non-invasive method to assess any signs of liver damage and inflammation as well as excessive fat in the liver.

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