SANT & # 39; ANTONIO – It is a very common deadly condition in San Antonio, but since fatty liver disease does not produce symptoms, it is often not diagnosed.
There are no FDA approved drugs available for treatment.
It's a big problem, a local doctor came out of retirement to help him solve it.
"It will be the first cause of liver transplantation in the United States to overcome hepatitis C next year," said Dr. Sherwyn Swartz, a specialist in Metabolism and Endocrinology.
Dr. Swartz said that people with diabetes or pre-diabetics are at risk of having a fatty liver.
"This is widespread in South Texas, specifically in San Antonio, among the Latins: in San Antonio there are people who have the genetic trait, they don't train enough but eat fatty foods," he said.
This causes the fat to accumulate in the liver.
"So you have a fatty liver, it expands, eventually it becomes fibrous or scarred, it gets smaller and smaller and if it gets small enough you end up having liver failure," said Dr. Swartz.
The first problem is that there are no symptoms. So, unless you are scanned, you may never know you have it.
You must be as proactive as Gloria Gomez, who has a family history of diabetes and gall bladder problems.
"My doctor told me that you probably have liver problems," he said as he sat in the office of Dr. Swartz.
Fortunately, his scan showed a healthy liver, but Dr. Swartz said it's rare in San Antonio.
He is used to seeing scans showing liver fat and scars that are at the top of the charts.
From April, Dr. Swartz and his technician Jenevieve Villarreal examined about 300 San Antonio patients, and the numbers are disturbing.
"If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, we are finding that 70 percent already has a significant amount of fat in the liver," said Dr. Swartz.
Now, the second problem: there are currently 48 drugs being developed to treat the disease, but none is yet approved by the FDA.
This is why Dr. Swartz came out of retirement. He saw the problem still looming, but believes that a life-saving medicine is behind the corner.
Now he is the senior researcher conducting five studies, the first of which starts this week.
However, for such studies to be successful, it needs patients to be tested to see if they qualify.
"People will go to these studios and have the chance to improve. We are examining people for free in San Antonio, we will take as many people as they want," he said.
Swartz showed that the test is almost identical to an ultrasound. It only takes a few minutes and patients can barely hear it.
When asked how many Swartz patients he was able to support for clinical studies, he said: "Unlimited, we are trying to scan 2,000 patients over the next two years."
Not only are the screenings free, but they also provide transportation to and from the appointment.
You will receive a quick scan and, if you qualify, you will be able to take part in the studies, which include different treatment options.
Anyone interested can call 210-880-2279.
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