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Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, Causes and symptoms of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

  • Posted on- May 08, 2018
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Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which the liver stores excess fat but is not secondary to alcohol, a virus, drugs, metabolic disorders, syndromes and other factors that may affect the liver’s ability to metabolize or export fat.

The disease process is usually associated with obesity, abnormal lipid levels (high cholesterol), diabetes, and prediabetes.

Severity of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can range from fat storage in the liver, fat and inflammation in the liver, fat and inflammation with a lot of scar tissue in the liver (cirrhosis due to NASH).

Causes of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can be understood as excess energy storage in the form of fat within the liver. When the balance between energy going out is less than energy coming in (food), the liver may store excess energy in the form of fat.

Diagnosis of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

The diagnosis of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) requires the presence of fat in the liver as seen by imaging studies or histology and the exclusion of other causes of fat accumulation.

Many things can disturb the liver’s metabolic activity and it is vital to remove those things as the treatment relies on the underlying cause of the problem.

Currently the only way to distinguish between non-NASH NAFLD and NASH is a liver biopsy, however several risk calculators and biomarkers have been devised to help determine whether a biopsy is needed.


Symptoms

Signs & Symptoms of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) without cirrhosis is regarded as a clinically silent disease (does not have symptoms). Some patients report some general abdominal symptoms that may or may not be related to liver changes.


Treatment

Treatments of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

The mainstay of treatment for Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) are lifestyle changes: weight loss, exercise and following a healthy diet. These treatments not only target the liver, but reduce overall cardiovascular risk, since cardiovascular complications are strongly associated with Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

In people who have biopsy evidence of Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), current recommendations include vitamin E. This is not a general recommendation that should be started without consulting a physician since risks can be associated with it.

Many other treatments for Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) are being developed and may be available in the near future.

Although bariatric surgery can improve Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), it is not recommended for those diagnoses alone at this time. Patients undergoing bariatric surgery frequently do not know they have liver disease.

If a person has other indications for bariatric surgery and evidence of liver disease, then bariatric surgery may be performed but should be done with the consultation of a liver specialist.

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