Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) in Louisiana

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There are two different categories of disease when it comes to NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). The first consists of an excess of fat in your liver that is not known to cause visible symptoms or coexisting inflammation. Often, this condition is diagnosed when additional tests are performed. If this condition is having an impact on your health, your GI specialist will go over the steps you can take to preserve your liver from additional damage. This particular type of NAFLD is also considered non-cancerous, however, it does have the possibility to become non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

The other type is more serious and is called NASH. NASH is also defined by a buildup of fat in your liver in addition to inflammation. NASH is typically discovered in people who are larger, have diabetes or have high blood sugar, and/or have high cholesterol. Unless treated, NASH can harm liver function and create more health concerns.

NASH is often diagnosed by the GI specialists at GastroGroup & Endocenter or hepatologists that offer comprehensive care. To learn more about the NASH treatment options in Louisiana, please contact us today.

Many individuals who have NASH manage day-to-day without developing symptoms. NASH might, sometimes, cause scarring of the liver, known as cirrhosis. If symptoms of NASH occur, they may include:

  • Everlasting fatigue
  • An ache in the upper right portion of the abdomen
  • Unintentional loss of weight

If you were diagnosed with NASH and begin to have trouble breathing, swelling in your legs, or you are unusually tired, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Our specialists at GastroGroup & Endocenter can help provide care.

The precise cause of NASH is unknown. Although it may affect young people, NASH usually impacts adults. Additional risk factors for NASH could include:

  • High blood sugar
  • Asian or Hispanic descent (although the condition can affect anyone)
  • Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Being overweight
  • High blood pressure
  • Post-menopause
  • Cholesterol that is high

If left untreated, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis can lead to additional health problems, such as cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even liver failure. In the event the condition is diagnosed, adjusting your weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels can have positive effects on not only your liver, but your whole body.

After you've been diagnosed with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, you will need to routinely visit your Louisiana GI doctor/hepatologist in order to monitor your liver. Treating NASH might include a combo of eating a healthy diet, limiting your sugar and sodium intake, and getting regular exercise. Additionally, we'll need to address any previous conditions that are known to increase the risk and/or severity of NASH.

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What are the primary differences between NASH and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?

NAFLD and NASH are both types of fatty liver disease. NAFLD describes the accumulation of fat within the liver, but with this variation, no damage is present. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is a variation of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that also involves fat accumulation in the liver, but where liver inflammation and damage, including scarring result.

How can you identify the signs of NASH if it does not produce any symptoms?

Though there may be no apparent symptoms of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, you may notice extreme exhaustion or pain around the liver in the upper right side of the abdomen. In many cases, the first indication of liver disease is when scarring of the liver (called cirrhosis) occurs. Cirrhosis may cause certain symptoms that you can watch out for, such as:

  • Itching
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Yellowish appearance to the skin and eyes
In the absence of care, what complications can occur with NASH?

Without treatment, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis could lead to liver fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. Liver fibrosis is a condition that occurs when inflammation and scarring damage the liver. This scar tissue can replace healthy tissue (cirrhosis), which can cause liver function to diminish or stop altogether. In the absence of care, fibrosis and cirrhosis can end up causing liver cancer and, ultimately, liver failure.

Is it possible to reverse the damage caused by NASH?

Those who are in the beginning stages of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and have not experienced severe damage to the liver might be able to successfully reverse the effects by adopting lifestyle changes, such as proper nutrition, exercising regularly, and weight loss. However, if long-term or more severe damage has resulted, the effects of the condition might be beyond repair. Our Louisiana digestive health specialists can provide further information regarding this disease.

Getting the care you require to preserve your liver health and cut down on the impact of NASH could increase your day-to-day living. At GastroGroup & Endocenter, our physicians are passionate about placing your wellness first, and we take a patient-centric approach to your care. If you think you may have the condition or are seeking a practitioner who offers treatment for NASH in Louisiana, call our office to request a meeting with a gastroenterologist.

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