Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a common, often clinically silent liver disease characterized by the presence of fat in the liver, in addition to liver inflammation and damage. Unlike alcoholic liver disease, NASH occurs in those who drink little or no alcohol. NASH usually presents with few or no symptoms, and most people affected with the disease feel healthy and are unaware they have a problem. Risk factors include age, obesity, type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension, with the latter four also considered as comorbidities of the disease. NASH is suspected if elevated liver enzymes are detected during routine blood panels, but it is only definitively diagnosed when a liver biopsy is performed.
GlobalData epidemiologists expect the number of diagnosed prevalent cases of NASH in the combined seven major pharmaceutical markets (7MM: US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and Japan) to grow by an Annual Growth Rate (AGR) of 8.29% per year over the next 10 years, from 16,952,459 cases in 2015, to 31,000,983 cases in 2025. Of the 7MM, the US will have the highest number of diagnosed prevalent cases throughout the forecast period, and account for roughly half of all NASH cases in the combined 7MM.
The near doubling of cases across all markets can most likely be attributed to the development of diagnostic methods for NASH that are less invasive than liver biopsy; increased physician awareness and therefore diagnosis; and the implementation of systematic screening programs that are more widely received. Additionally, because the prevalences of NASH risk factors strongly influence the prevalence of NASH itself, significant changes in, for example, the obese and diabetic populations over the next decade will also likely contribute to a change in prevalence of NASH.