Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

NAFLD

  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which excess fat builds up in the liver in people who drink little or no alcohol (excess alcohol consumption is another reason for fat accumulation in the liver).
  • NAFLD is more common in people who have certain conditions, including obesity and conditions that may be related to obesity such as type 2 diabetes.
  • Between 30 and 40 percent of adults in the United States have NAFLD.
  • Most common form of chronic liver disease in US in adults and children.
  • The primary treatment is to focus on healthy eating habits and exercise regularly.
  • NAFLD can be divided into 2 categories:
    • NAFL in which the fat accumulation is not associated with much liver damage.
    • NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) in which there is liver damage.

NASH

  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a type of NAFLD that is diagnosed by having a liver biopsy.
  • NASH affects as many as 12 percent of U.S. adults or 30 million Americans (NIH).
  • If you have NASH, you have inflammation and liver cell damage, along with fat in your liver. Inflammation and liver cell damage can cause fibrosis, or scarring, of the liver.
  • NASH may lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer.
  • Progression is usually slow over many years to decades although some children with obesity, sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits can progress to NASH in their teens.
  • The primary treatment is to focus on healthy eating habits and exercise regularly.
  • There are no approved medications to treat NASH at this time. Many medications are being evaluated in clinical trials and results are expected in the next 2-5 years.
  • By 2020, NASH will overtake hepatitis C as the number one cause of liver transplantation in the U.S. (Mayo Clinic)