42013Feb

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the accumulation of fat in the liver found in people who drink little or no alcohol.  Nonalcoholic fatty liver is also known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).  Nonalcoholic fatty liver is fairly common and many times causes no symptoms and no problems.  In some individuals, the accumulation of fat in the liver causes it to become inflamed.  This inflammation can prevent the liver from working as well as it should.  If the nonalcoholic fatty liver gets worse it can cause scarring of the liver, which can lead to cirrhosis.  Very severe nonalcoholic fatty liver can progress to liver failure.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver occurs when certain individual’s livers have trouble breaking down fats, causing fat to build up in the liver tissue.  Doctors are not sure why dome people who have a buildup of fat in the liver get nonalcoholic fatty liver and some do not.  Several diseases and conditions put people at risk for nonalcoholic liver disease and liver damage, including: obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high triglycerides, and metabolic syndrome.  Most people who have nonalcoholic fatty liver are between 40 and 50 years old and have at least one of the previously mentioned risk factors.

There is no standard treatment for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.  If you have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease your doctor will most likely recommend that you control your nonalcoholic fatty liver disease through lifestyle changes.  You can do this by reducing our total cholesterol level, reach a healthy weight, control diabetes, stop or cut back on drinking alcohol and exercise regularly.

References:
1.   “Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 2011. Web. 21 Dec 2012.
2.   “Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH).” WebMD. Healthwise, 27 2011. Web. 21 Dec 2012.