How Does Having a Fatty Liver Impact Your Health?

Fatty liver or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a disorder in which too much fat builds up in the liver. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) occurs when that extra fat causes inflammation and scarring of the liver. If severe enough, NASH can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer, potentially requiring a liver transplant. In addition, heart-related deaths are one of the main causes of death for people with NAFLD or NASH.

Studies have found that about 25% of people in the world have NAFLD and 2-6% have NASH.

NAFLD/NASH can affect people of any age, including children. It is more common in people with obesity type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, PCOS, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. There are no medications currently approved to treat NASH. Several medications are being tested in clinical trials for approval. Doctors can also prescribe medications for conditions associated with a fatty liver, such as diabetes and obesity.

The symptoms of NASH are hard to recognize which is why it is underdiagnosed. Newer noninvasive diagnostic tests, offer a safe examination of the liver compared with a liver biopsy that examines a small piece of the liver.

Noninvasive tests include:

It is possible to stop NASH in the early stages from progressing to severe liver damage or cancer through weight loss. This can be accomplished with lifestyle change by focusing on physical activity and nutrition. Weight loss medications and weight loss surgery can be added when needed.

If you’d like to learn more about permanent weight loss, please feel free to call us or schedule an appointment with Dr. Isaacs using the online booking tool on this website.

Author
Scott Isaacs, MD Endocrinologist and Weight Loss Specialist

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