What is NAFLD & NASH?
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the buildup of extra fat in liver cells that is not caused by alcohol. In most people, early forms of NAFLD are unlikely to cause harm. However, if the fat continues to build up, it can eventually lead to inflammation or fibrosis of the liver.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the more severe form of NAFLD. NASH causes liver inflammation and damage by an accumulation of fat in the liver which is not related to alcohol. NAFLD & NASH tends to develop in people who are overweight or obese, or have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides.
Up to 25% of adults with NASH may have cirrhosis.
Most people with NASH are between 40 and 60 years old. It is more common in women than in men. NASH is one of the leading causes of cirrhosis in adults in the US.
Things that put people at risk for NAFLD and NASH:
- High cholesterol and triglycerides
- Metabolic syndrom
Signs and Symptoms
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
An ultrasound of the liver can suggest the presence of a fatty liver. Other imaging studies may be used as well such as a computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In some cases, your doctor may advise a liver biopsy, it will help determine the exact cause.
Currently, there is no medication proven to effectively treat fatty liver disease, if the main causes are related to obesity, diabetes and dyslipidemia. The standard recommendations to fatty liver disease patients are to reach a healthy weight, avoid alcohol, follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
- * All research and clinical data should be used as reference purposes only, results may vary.