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04 August 2015

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatisis (NASH)

  • NAFLD is the term used to mean that there is too much fat in the liver in someone who does not drink alcohol excessively
  • About a third of adults and 15% of children in the US have NAFLD
  • NASH is a diagnosis made by liver biopsy in someone with NAFLD that shows liver damage in association with the fat accumulation
  • About 3-5% of adults in the US have NASH; children are affected too, but how many is uncertain
  • NASH is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic factors with poor eating and exercise habits
  • NASH is most common in adults and children with obesity and type 2 diabetes
  • NASH can progress to cirrhosis; this often occurs silently without any symptoms
  • Lifestyle modifications that include regular exercise and healthy eating habits can cause the liver fat to go away and NASH to resolve; search the internet for “Harvard Healthy Eating Plate” for some great guidance
  • Bariatric surgery is also an effective treatment of NASH
  • There are currently no approved medications to treat NASH

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