NASH and NAFLD
About NASH and NAFLD
Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
NASH and NAFLD are caused by excess fat accumulation in the liver. NAFLD is defined as a fat concentration of greater than 5- 10% of the weight of the liver. NASH is the presence of inflammation accompanying the fat. These conditions resemble alcoholic liver disease, but they occur in those who drink little or no alcohol.
Why it is Problematic
Fat in the liver can cause liver inflammation, which may then lead to permanent liver damage such as cirrhosis.
Causes and Risk Factors
NASH and NAFLD have no clearly defined causes, but some contributing risk factors have been identified, such as obesity, being overweight, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, pre-diabetes, malnutrition,and hepatitis.
NAFLD and NASH sometimes have no symptoms. As the condition progresses it may cause vague symptoms that do not directly indicate a liver problem. These symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Fluid retention (edema)
- Spider angiomas
- Pain in the abdomen (upper right quadrant)
- Patchy skin discoloration found on the neck or underarm
- Dark urine
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of eyes)
- Loss of appetite
- Pale stool
- Abdominal discomfort
An ultrasound and blood can diagnose fatty liver disease caused by NASH and NAFLD. A liver biopsycan determine the stage of steatosis in NASH.
Treatment for fatty liver disease will include a change in lifestyle patterns by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Maintaining a healthy weight, eating properly, exercising, and avoiding alcohol can help in the prevention of NASH and NAFLD.
It is estimated that between 20% and 25% of the U.S. population has NASH or NAFLD, making it the most common liver disease in the U.S.