NAFLD – Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
NAFLD – Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

NAFLD can be divided into two categories. The first is simply a fat build up in the liver that causes no real symptoms and has no accompanying inflammation. This benign condition is often diagnosed “accidentally”; for example, during an ultrasound of the gall bladder doctors may see the fat build up in the liver. Your doctor will discuss with you the steps you can take to protect your liver from further damage.

Your physician has diagnosed you with NAFLD, Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, what comes next?

The first step in any new diagnosis is to ask questions of your physician, make sure that you understand the diagnosis.  What is NAFLD?  How can it be treated? How will it affect my life?

It is important to understand that there is a separate condition that affects the liver found in people who drink too much alcohol. That is why doctors are careful to differentiate between liver diseases caused by excessive drinking and those that are found in patients who are either do not drink at all or just occasionally. NAFLD is not caused by alcohol consumption.

NAFLD can be divided into two categories. The first is simply a fat build up in the liver that causes no real symptoms and has no accompanying inflammation. This benign condition is often diagnosed “accidentally”; for example, during an ultrasound of the gall bladder doctors may see the fat build up in the liver. Your doctor will discuss with you the steps you can take to protect your liver from further damage.

The second category is a more serious condition known as NASH. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is also characterized by the build up of fat in the liver and is accompanied by inflammation.  It is often found in patients who are overweight, have diabetes or high blood sugar, and/or have high cholesterol. These conditions need to be addressed directly as part of your treatment.  Taking control of your weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol can have positive effects not only on your liver, but also throughout your body.

Once you have been diagnosed with NASH you should see your gastroenterologist/hepatologist for regular check-ups to monitor your liver.  Most patients live their lives without developing any additional symptoms, NASH can, at times, cause scarring of the liver called cirrhosis. If you have been diagnosed with NASH and begin to have trouble breathing, swelling in your legs, or are unusually tired contact your doctor immediately.



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