Albert Do, MD, MPH, is the clinical director of the Yale Medicine Fatty Liver Disease Program, and has expertise in hepatology, obesity medicine, and gastroenterology. He is particularly interested in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and obesity as significant clinical and public health problems. “Since so much of fatty liver disease is related to obesity—I treat patients for excess weight as well,” he says.
Dr. Do became a doctor because he wanted to help people. “I've been trying to find a way to be of service from as far back as high school,” he says. He became passionate about treating obesity and associated diseases as he realized that, although excess weight is a treatable condition, people struggle with it, and it is associated with life-threatening conditions. He says patients don’t realize that obesity is not their fault, and there are medications and other treatments. “I myself have struggled with weight, and I don't want anyone else to struggle with it.”
Fatty liver disease is the most common type of chronic liver disease, and it’s on the rise. “If you were to put an ultrasound on everyone in the country, it's thought that you would find fat in their liver to some degree in a third of them, and a proportion of those people will develop liver disease in the long-term. Fatty deliver disease is also a major contributor to heart attacks,” Dr. Do says. “So again, that speaks to the kind of relationship that fatty liver disease has with obesity.”
Dr. Do looks at each patient holistically—if he is treating them for liver disease, he addresses any weight issues as well. “People often come in and say their goal weight is to lose 50 pounds, 100 pounds, or 150 pounds. But with fatty liver disease, oftentimes we see improvement with just a loss of 30 pounds—20 to 30 pounds often tends to be sufficient, which is a good start,” he says.
An assistant professor of digestive diseases at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Do is involved in a variety of research studies, including one that focuses how his own model of care, which incorporates weight loss into the care of patients with fatty liver disease.