Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which fat builds up in your liver. The more severe form of NAFLD is called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH causes the liver to swell and become damaged.
NASH tends to develop in people who are overweight or obese, or have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides. However, some people have NASH even if they do not have any risk factors.
Most people with NASH are between the ages of 40 and 60 years. It is more common in women than in men. NASH often has no symptoms and people can have NASH for years before symptoms occur.
NASH is one of the leading causes of cirrhosis in adults in the United States. Up to 25% of adults with NASH may have cirrhosis.
Body mass index (BMI) is a common tool for deciding whether a person has an appropriate body weight. It measures a person’s weight in relation to their height.
NAFLD is a general term for a range of conditions characterized by extra fat in liver cells that is not caused by alcohol. It’s normal for the liver to contain some fat. However, if more than 5 percent of the liver’s weight is fat, it’s considered a fatty liver (steatosis).
Researchers do not know the exact cause of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Usually NAFLD and NASH do not cause symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you may feel tired or have pain in the upper right side of your abdomen, where your liver is.
Because most people with NAFLD have no symptoms and screening for it is not recommended at this time, fatty liver disease is often discovered during a routine blood test or screening for another medical condition.
NAFLD and NASH can be silent diseases with no symptoms at all or very mild symptoms such as tiredness and fatigue in early stages of the disease.
The first line of treatment for NAFLD and NASH is weight loss, done through a combination of calorie reduction, exercise, and healthy eating.
Talking to your doctor about NASH is critical, and it’s a conversation that could save your life. Asking the right questions is an important part of getting the most from your doctor’s visit. Use this guide to help begin your conversation with your doctor and record the answers below.
Empower yourself to work with your doctors and medical team to achieve the best health outcomes on your journey with NASH by downloading our NASH Patient Bill of Rights. For more details, click here.
Visit the American Liver Foundation Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) support group on Facebook. For more details, click here…
Clinical trials are research studies that test how well new medical approaches work in people. Before an experimental treatment can be tested on human subjects in a clinical trial, it must have shown benefit in laboratory testing or animal research studies. The most promising treatments are then moved into clinical trials, with the goal of identifying new ways to safely and effectively prevent, screen for, diagnose, or treat a disease.
Speak with your doctor about the ongoing progress and results of these trials to get the most up-to-date information on new treatments. Participating in a clinical trial is a great way to contribute to curing, preventing and treating liver disease and its complications.
Last updated on August 18th, 2023 at 10:39 am