Fat build up in the liver that is not accompanied by inflammation is known as NAFLD, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. NAFLD is often seen as part of a group of metabolic disorders including diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity. Most patients with NAFLD do not experience any symptoms and most do not progress to the more serious form of the the disease, known as NASH.
NASH is short-hand for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, an inflammation caused by a buildup of fat in the liver. This inflammation may eventually progress to scarring and irreversible damage, similar to the damage caused by heavy alcohol use. In its most severe form, NASH can progress to cirrhosis and liver failure liver damage in patients who are not alcoholic.
Many people experience no symptoms in the early stages of NASH. As the inflammation progresses you may also experience:
- Fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
- Weight loss for no clear reason
- General weakness
NASH seems to develop most often in patients who are obese, especially when fat is primarily located in the belly. Other risk factors include high blood sugar, high cholesterol, prediabetes, or Type 2 diabetes.
Treatment includes managing or eliminating conditions that put you at risk for NASH. The first course of action is usually weight loss through a combination of a healthy low-fat, low-sugar diet combined with exercise. You should work to reduce cholesterol levels and proactively manage diabetes. Ask your doctor about all the medicines you are currently taking, as some may harm your liver.
If you have the above risk factors and experience the above symptoms, please connect with one of our specialists to protect your health.