Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) in New Orleans, LA

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There are two different categories of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The first disease involves an excess of fat in your liver that doesn't cause any outward symptoms or accompanying inflammation. Often, this type is found when additional tests are being performed. If this type of disease is affecting your health, your provider will discuss the process you might take to safeguard your liver from more damage. This particular type of NAFLD is also often considered non-cancerous, however, it does have the potential to progress to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

The second is more serious and is known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. NASH is also defined by a buildup of fat in a patient's liver in addition to inflammation. NASH is typically seen in individuals who are overweight, are diabetic or have high blood sugar, and|or high cholesterol. Unless properly treated, NASH can harm liver function and create more health problems.

NASH is often diagnosed by the GI specialists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates or hepatologists who are partnered with other medical specialists to provide comprehensive care. For more information about the NASH treatment options in New Orleans, LA, contact our office today.

Many patients who have non-alcoholic steatohepatitis live without having symptoms. NASH may, at times, cause scarring of the liver, which is known as cirrhosis. If NASH symptoms occur, they could involve:

  • Persistent fatigue
  • An ache in the upper right portion of the abdomen
  • Unintentional weight loss

If you have been diagnosed with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and develop difficulty breathing, swelling in your legs, or are unusually tired, contact your GI provider as soon as possible. The specialists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates can provide care.

The cause of NASH is not known. Although it can affect young people, the condition generally is seen in older individuals. Some other risk factors for NASH could include:

  • Post-menopause
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Asian or Hispanic descent (however, NASH can be seen in anyone)
  • High cholesterol
  • Adult-onset diabetes (type 2 diabetes)
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Being overweight
  • Diagnosed high blood pressure

Left untreated, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis may cause more health issues, including cirrhosis, liver cancer, and ultimately, liver failure. If you have been diagnosed with NASH, adjusting your weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol can help not only your liver but your whole body.

After being diagnosed with NASH, you should regularly visit your New Orleans, LA GI specialist/hepatologist to monitor your liver. Treating NASH could involve a combination of a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and sodium, and regular exercise. We will also need to address any previous conditions known for increasing the risk or severity of NASH.

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What is the difference between non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis are types of fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease involves fat accumulation in the liver. However, with this condition, damage has not occurred. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is a variation of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that is also characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver. However, in this case, liver inflammation and damage (including scarring) are involved.

How do you detect the indications of NASH if it does not cause symptoms?

Although there may be no observable symptoms of NASH, you might experience lethargy or pain around the liver (in the upper right side of the abdomen). Often, the initial indication of liver disease, such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, is when cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) occurs. There are certain symptoms of cirrhosis that you can watch for, including:

  • Itching
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
If left untreated, what health complications might develop with NASH?

In the absence of care, NASH can lead to fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. Liver fibrosis is a condition that occurs when inflammation and scarring damage the liver. The scar tissue that arises can replace healthy tissue (cirrhosis), which could cause liver function to diminish or cease completely. In the absence of treatment, these conditions could progress to liver cancer and failure.

Is it possible to reverse the effects of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis?

Those who are experiencing the early stages of NASH and do not have extensive damage to the liver may be able to successfully reverse the effects by implementing lifestyle modifications, including healthy eating, exercise, and weight loss. However, if long-term or more severe damage has resulted, the effects of NASH may not be reversible. Our New Orleans, LA gastroenterology specialists can offer additional details and information regarding this disease.

Getting the assistance you require to manage your liver health and reduce the impact of NASH can improve your quality of life. At Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates, our team is passionate about placing your health first, and our providers take a patient-centric approach to treating NASH. If you believe you might have this condition or need a specialist who offers treatment for NASH in New Orleans, LA, contact us to request an appointment with a local gastroenterologist in your community.

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