July 5, 2015
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Fatty Liver
(Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease [NAFLD] and Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis [NASH])

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Nonalcoholic fatty liver facts

  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) is the accumulation of abnormal amounts of fat within the liver.
  • NAFLD can be divided into isolated fatty liver in which there is only accumulation of fat, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in which there is fat and damage to liver cells.
  • NASH progresses to scarring and ultimately to cirrhosis, with all the complications of cirrhosis, for example, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver failure, and liver cancer.
  • Isolated fatty liver does not progress to NASH or cirrhosis.
  • The development of NAFLD is intimately associated with and is probably caused by obesity and diabetes.
  • NAFLD is considered a manifestation of the metabolic syndrome.
  • The symptoms of NAFLD are primarily those of the complications of cirrhosis in patients with NASH; isolated fatty liver infrequently causes symptoms and usually is discovered incidentally.
  • The differentiation of isolated fatty liver from NASH requires a liver biopsy.
  • The most promising treatments for NAFLD are weight loss including bariatric surgery and exercise.
  • Several drugs have been studied in the treatment of NASH. There is little evidence that any drug is effective in slowing the disease progression of NASH.
  • Many diseases are associated with NASH and are part of the metabolic syndrome. These diseases should be screened for and treated, for example, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia and diabetes.
  • NAFLD, including NASH affects young children as well.
  • NASH will become the number one reason for liver transplantation unless effective and safe treatments are found.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2014

Source: MedicineNet.com

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