Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is liver inflammation caused by a buildup of fat in the liver. Many people have a buildup of fat in the liver, and for most people it causes no symptoms and no problems. But in some people, the fat causes inflammation of the liver. Because of the inflammation, the liver doesn't work as well as it should.
NASH can get worse and cause scarring of the liver, which leads to cirrhosis. But the disease doesn't always get worse.
NASH is similar to the kind of liver disease that is caused by long-term, heavy drinking. But NASH occurs in people who don't abuse alcohol.
What causes NASH?
Experts don't know why some people with a buildup of fat in the liver get NASH and some don't. It could be that something in the environment triggers the inflammation in those people. Or maybe it runs in their families.
Things that put people at risk for NASH and for liver damage include:
Type 2 diabetes.
High cholesterol and high triglycerides.
Most people who have NASH are 40 to 50 years old and have one or more of the problems listed above. But NASH can happen in people who have none of these risk factors.
What are the symptoms?
You may have no symptoms in the early stages of NASH. Most people who have NASH feel fine and don't know that they have it.
As NASH progresses and liver damage gets worse, you may start to have symptoms such as:
Fatigue (feeling tired all the time).
Weight loss for no clear reason.
An ache in the upper right camera part of your belly.
It may take many years for NASH to become severe enough to cause symptoms.
How is NASH diagnosed?
No single test can diagnose NASH. Your doctor will ask you about other health problems you've had.
To see if fat is building up in your liver and to rule out other diseases, your doctor may do tests such as:
An abdominal ultrasound.
A CT scan.
An MRI scan.
Your doctor may do a liver biopsy to be sure that you have NASH. In a liver biopsy, your doctor takes a sample of tissue from your liver and checks it for signs of NASH.
How is it treated?
There is no treatment for NASH. But you may be able to limit damage to your liver by managing conditions that increase your risk for NASH or make it worse. You can:
Reduce your total cholesterol level.
Reach a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, be sure to do so slowly (no more than 1 to 2 pounds a week).1 Quick weight loss from crash diets, surgery, or medicine increases inflammation and scarring in your liver.
Stop or cut back on drinking alcohol.
Also, ask your doctor or pharmacist about all the medicines you are taking. Some may harm your liver.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.