We all know that alcohol abuse is bad for the liver. However, all kinds of liver diseases and conditions are not related to the consumption of alcohol. There’s a combined term for such conditions called the “nonalcoholic fatty liver disease”. This is related to the buildup of fat in the liver cells, which eventually stops the liver from functioning normally. In medical terms, this is also known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
Here are the causes, symptoms, and other details of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
Knowing the causes
There is no singular reason why some people have nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, while others don’t. However, experts from United Surgical Partners International believe that there are a few risk factors, which can contribute to the disease. These include obesity, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Patients who have insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome may also suffer from the condition. Typically, people over the age of 40 tend to suffer from nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, because they have one of the contributing factors or diseases.
Find the symptoms
In many cases, there are no early signs of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which can make it hard to detect the condition. In fact, most people don’t really know that they have a fatty liver condition, until things get worse. Some of the common symptoms include fatigue, unexplained weight loss, weakness, pain in the abdomen (mainly in the upper part), and nausea. The condition may take its own time to develop in different cases, and therefore, symptoms are not always evident and clear.
There is no single test that can diagnose the conditions related to fatty liver. If the doctors find symptoms of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, he may suggest an ultrasound or a series of blood tests. In some cases, MRI scans are required, while doctors may also do a biopsy.
Since the condition of fatty liver and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis are caused by factors other than alcohol, it is often treated by focusing on the causing factor. Your doctor may suggest changes in your diet and lifestyle, which is mainly aimed at reducing the cholesterol level. Weight loss is also a part of the treatment, because a reduction of 3% or more can help in dealing with liver damage. Diabetic patients might get special medicines to keep the disease in further control. Patients suffering from nonalcoholic steatohepatitis are advised to exercise regularly and avoid all forms of alcohol.
Talk to your doctor to know if any of the medicines are affecting the liver adversely.