Fatty Liver and NASH

There have been many documentaries, case studies, advertisements, and public awareness about the effects of fast food and unhealthy eating habits overall that create obesity in our culture, but the awareness is typically on the surface level.  From a medical perspective, the abuse of unhealthy eating and drinking habits can create a lot of complications for your liver.  As a vital organ in your body, the liver is a heavy duty performer that serves in food breakdown, producing proteins including defenders of blood clots, the creation of bile used by the digestive system, and is the storage facilitator for energy and nutrients.  Individuals who partake in drugs, alcohol or similar toxins also benefit from the liver as it is a front-of-the-line defender in preventing toxins from entering the rest of the body.

Fatty Liver and NASH

Fatty liver occurs when the liver expands over 5-10% of the normal weight, which can be created rather than inherited.  A large majority of diagnosed patients are overweight and, at least, middle-aged, but some children also develop fatty liver.  Natural contributors of fatty liver can include malnutrition, heavy calorie consumption, obesity, alcohol abuse, and unhealthy weight loss.  Other contributors can include diabetes, insulin resistance, or high triglycerides.  Fatty liver itself is not the origin of symptoms, but instead a byproduct of other complications which can lead to the discovery of fatty liver.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, known as NASH, is considered to be a silent liver disease.  It is closely related to alcoholic liver disease but is typical in individuals who have consumed very little or no alcohol at all.  At advanced stages, NASH can lead to symptoms which may eventually reveal fatty liver or Cirrhosis.  These symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, mental confusion, and weakness in the body, and severe cases can lead to liver failure and death.  Successfully discovering NASH can require a series of tests including blood tests, ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs.  At TransSouth, we have discovered liver biopsies to be the best way of properly detecting NASH.

Treating NASH

Upon detection and proper diagnosis, we may recommend some natural disciplines that the patient will need to implement into their lifestyle.  First and foremost, we will address any challenges with obesity by developing a healthy plan for losing weight with proper eating habits and exercise.  Depending on the results of the patient’s blood work, we may need to decrease triglyceride levels both naturally and medically.  We will certainly recommend avoiding alcoholic beverages and unnecessary medications while strongly encouraging the patient to manage any diabetic challenges carefully.  We expect that the patient will need to maintain a routine schedule of check-ups with our clinic.