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Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)

NAFLD is the buildup of excess fat in the liver related to diabetes, obesity, genetics and/or medication. NAFLD affects 30-40% of adults in the US according to the National Institutes of Health and is rapidly becoming the most common liver disease worldwide.

  • NAFLD is the buildup of excess fat in the liver that is NOT caused by alcohol. If more than 10% of the weight of the liver is made up of fat, it is considered a fatty liver.
  • NAFLD tends to develop in people who are overweight and/or have Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes (insulin resistance), high cholesterol or high triglycerides. There may also be a genetic component to NAFLD. Occasionally, medications can cause NAFLD.
  • NAFLD is often a silent condition, with no symptoms.
  • Blood tests and imaging options, including Fibroscan, can confirm a fatty liver diagnosis.

What is Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)?

One out of every four people with NALFD have the more progressive form of fatty liver disease called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). It is important to know whether or not you have NASH.

NASH is the more severe form of NAFLD in which inflammation and progressive scarring of the liver occur.

  • NASH causes liver inflammation and eventually liver damage (fibrosis).
  • Most people with NASH are between the ages of 40 and 60, although it can be seen in much younger individuals who have risk factors for NASH. It is more common in women than in men.
  • Liver biopsy is sometimes done to confirm NASH diagnosis.
  • People with NASH have no symptoms until cirrhosis or liver cancer occurs, which may take many years.
  • Other than diet and exercise, there are currently no specific treatments available for NASH. Clinical trials of new NASH medications may be the best option for some people. Call 480-470-4000 for more information.

What is FibroScan?

In the past, a liver biopsy was necessary to evaluate the level of scar tissue (called “fibrosis”) present in the liver and to distinguish between NAFL and NASH. FibroScan is a simple, noninvasive test, similar to an ultrasound, that measures liver fibrosis and fat content in just a few minutes.

FibroScan is useful for confirming the fatty liver diagnosis and for predicting how much scarring is present in the liver. A biopsy may still be necessary to determine if progression to NASH has occurred.

Diagnose and Treat Cirrhosis with Arizona Liver Health

Call Arizona Liver Health at 480-470-4000 to set up an appointment with one of our experienced providers who can help diagnose your liver condition and put you on a path toward improved outcomes.