NAFLD / NASH

Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

NAFLD is characterized by excessive fat accumulation in the liver.

 

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the buildup of excess fat in the liver, not caused by alcohol; this is called Steatosis. Generally, NAFLD is the result of poor diet and life style choices but can also develop due to viral infection, medication side effect and hereditary traits. Typically, NAFLD and steatosis develop and progress without symptoms.

For this reason, it is generally left unchecked and can develop into more serious conditions, beginning with Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis (NASH).

Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)

NASH is characterized by a substantial increase in liver inflammation.

 

The prolonged accumulation of fat in the liver during the beginning stages of NAFLD results in low-grade chronic inflammation.  If left undiagnosed and untreated, inflammation in the liver can rise to the point that it is classified as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH.   Once liver disease has progressed to NASH, the risk of liver scarring or Fibrosis and loss of liver function greatly increases.

Fatty liver diesease graphic

What Causes NAFLD & NASH

NAFLD & NASH are typically the result of an unhealthy lifestyle

 

Research suggests that pre-existing health conditions that are the result of poor diet and low activity increase the risk of NAFLD and NASH development.

Risk of NAFLD or NASH development is increased in those who are:

  • Overweight or obese
  • Insulin resistant / Hyperglycemic
  • Dyslipidemic (i.e. high total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides & low HDL cholesterol)
  • Have a large waist size
  • Hypertensive (i.e. high blood pressure)
  • Type 2 Diabetic
Fatty Liver view

The progression of liver disease

Understanding the progression of liver disease may help you make better health choices.

NAFLD | NASH

NAFLD | NASH

NAFLD is the most prevalent liver disease in developed countries. It is characterized by fat build up in the liver, typically does not cause noticeable symptoms, and marks the beginning of liver disease. Prolonged fat accumulation leads to chronic inflammation and the development of NASH.

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Fibrosis

Fibrosis

When NASH and chronic inflammation go untreated it will start to cause the liver to scar. These scar tissues will replace the healthy liver tissue and reduce liver function. May see symptoms such as abdominal pain and swelling.

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Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis

High accumulation of scar tissue leads to Cirrhosis of the liver which noticeably reduces liver function, and if left untreated, can lead to liver failure. Key symptoms include jaundice, gastrointestinal bleeding and significant abdominal swelling.

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Liver Cancer

Liver Cancer

Chronic inflammation and Cirrhosis (scarring) can lead to malignancy within the liver, or liver cancer. The most common type of primary liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, which displays similar symptoms to cirrhosis and can also lead to liver failure.

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Knowing if your liver is healthy can save your life.

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