Your simplified guide to the basics of Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)!

Did you know that your liver is the only internal organ in the body that can regenerate itself? Naturally, our liver contains a certain amount of fat, but if the fat content is more than 5% of the weight of the organ, it can cause a condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In simpler terms, patients with Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis have a fatty liver, and if not checked and treated in time, the condition may cause damage to the liver cells leading to cirrhosis.

Here are some of the facts you need to know.

Check the causes

Experts of USPI believe that some people get NASH for no apparent reason. NASH is much similar to alcoholic liver disease that is caused by heavy drinking. The exact reason is not known, but some people are more prone to NASH than others. Patients who are obese and have insulin resistance are more likely to suffer from Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis. Other risk factors include high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. It is also more seen in people over the age of 40, although anyone can have a fatty liver at different ages.

Find the symptoms

A lot of people with a fatty liver don’t realize they have the condition, because there are no symptoms at all. However, as liver damage progresses, the patient may have conditions such as unexplained weight loss, fatigue and constant weakness, pain in the right upper part of the abdomen and abdominal swelling. There are no early signs of NASH, but if you are someone with a history of liver disease, you should get tested from time to time. Your doctor may suggest a few blood tests to check for fatty liver.

Getting treated

NASH is managed by taking care of the conditions that eventually led to a fatty liver. If you are obese, your doctor will ask to make a few diet changes and reduce weight. In some cases, medications are given to reduce high cholesterol levels. Diabetic patients should check their weight and calorie consumption per day. Patients with NASH should avoid alcohol, which can make things worse. If you have other conditions and are taking medications, check with your doctor if any medicine is causing more harm to your liver.

NASH, if treated in time, is not a life-threating condition, unless it leads to cirrhosis that causes scarring of the liver tissues and can cause liver failure.