Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
What is Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a liver disease. In this condition, there is a fat accumulation in the liver that is not due to drinking too much alcohol. NAFLD is seen in people who are overweight or obese.
What are the causes and risk factors of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?
NAFLD can occur in people who have no known risk factors. There are many known risk factors for NAFLD. Common risks factors for Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are:
- Overweight or obesity
- High cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Rapid weight loss and poor diet
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Diseases of bowel
- Certain medicines like calcium channel blockers and some cancer drugs.
What are the symptoms of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?
Normally, people with NAFLD don’t show any symptoms. But when they occur, the most common ones include:
- Pain in the upper right abdomen
There is a more serious form of this disease. It is known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH can cause liver failure. It can also cause liver cancer. In people with NASH who have liver damage (cirrhosis), symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in the legs and abdomen
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
Which tests are done for NAFLD?
Tests done to evaluate liver function are:
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Prothrombin time (PT)
- Blood albumin level
- Ultrasound (to confirm a diagnosis of NAFLD)
- MRI and CT scan
- A liver biopsy may be needed to confirm a diagnosis of NASH (a severe form of NAFLD)
What treatment options are available for NAFLD?
There is no specific treatment for NAFLD. The goal is to manage your risk factors.
How to prevent Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?
Lifestyle changes have to be done to reduce the risk factors. These lifestyle changes can even reverse NAFLD. These may include:
- Weight Loss
- Eating a healthy diet
- Low dietary salt intake
- Quit drinking
- Doing physically activities
- Controlling blood sugar and blood pressure
- Getting vaccinated for diseases such as hepatitis A and hepatitis B
- Lowering your cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Consulting doctor before taking over-the-counter medicines especially pain killers
Fatty liver; Steatosis; Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; NASH