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.
Fat in the liver can cause liver inflammation, which may then lead to permanent liver damage such as cirrhosis.
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:
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.