NASH (Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis) / NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease)
What is NAFLD?
NAFLD is the medical term to describe a range of conditions that stem from a build up of fat in the liver. It most often occurs in people who are overweight, have type 2 diabetes or have high blood pressure.
- The first stage of NAFLD is steatosis or a fatty liver
- NASH occurs when this accumulation of fat in the liver causes inflammation
- If there is persistent inflammation then fibrosis can occur
- The most severe stage of NAFLD is cirrhosis in which the liver shrinks causing permanent damage
What are the symptoms of NAFLD?
Early stages of NAFLD will not normally cause any symptoms. In advanced stages you may experience:
- Stomach pain
- No energy
- Unexplained weight loss
How is NAFLD diagnosed?
Early stage NAFLD is often found during blood tests or ultrasounds. To evaluate whether your NAFLD is an advanced stage, a fibroscan and/or a biopsy may be needed.
How is NAFLD treated?
There is no specific treatment for NAFLD although there are medications for associated conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. The best way to manage NAFLD is by making lifestyle changes. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly will all help to improve NAFLD. It is also important to stop smoking and drink moderately.