Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) in Florida

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There are a couple of different categories of disease under the diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The first surrounds an excess of fat in the liver that doesn't cause any outward symptoms or accompanying inflammation. Typically, this type of disease is found when other tests are performed. If this type of disease is having an impact on your well-being, your GI specialist will review with you the steps you can take to preserve your liver from further damage. This particular type of NAFLD is also usually considered benign, but it does have the probability to become NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis).

The second type is more serious and is called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. It is also defined by a buildup of fat in your liver as well as inflammation. NASH is typically discovered in individuals who are overweight, have diabetes, and/or have high blood sugar, and/or have high cholesterol. Unless treated, NASH can impair liver function and lead to additional health problems.

NASH is often diagnosed by the GI specialists at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida or hepatologists who partner with another medical specialist to give you comprehensive care. For more information about NASH treatments in FL, get in touch with our office today.

Several individuals who have non-alcoholic steatohepatitis live without developing symptoms. NASH may, at times, lead to scarring of the liver, which is called cirrhosis. If symptoms of NASH occur, they could involve:

  • Everlasting fatigue
  • Unexplained loss of weight
  • Aching in the upper right part of your abdomen

If you have been diagnosed with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and begin to have trouble breathing, swollen legs, or are unusually tired, contact your GI doctor immediately. The GI providers at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida can help you find answers.

The reason for developing NASH is not known. While it could affect younger people, NASH most often occurs in adults. Additional risk factors for NASH include:

  • Obesity
  • Diagnosed high blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Cholesterol that is high
  • Post-menopause
  • Asian or Hispanic descent (but it can affect anyone)
  • High blood sugar levels

If left untreated, NASH can lead to other health issues, like cirrhosis, liver cancer, and ultimately, liver failure. When the condition is diagnosed, adjusting your weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol can positively impact not only your liver but your entire body.

After being diagnosed with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, you will want to routinely visit your Florida gastroenterologist/hepatologist to keep an eye on your liver. Treating NASH could include a combination of eating healthy, avoiding sugar and sodium, and regular exercise. Part of the treatment process at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida includes addressing any previous conditions that may increase the risk and/or severity of NASH.

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What are the main differences between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis are two variations of fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is fat accumulation in the liver, but with this variation, no damage has occurred. NASH is a form of NAFLD that is also characterized by the buildup of fat in the liver. However, in this case, inflammation, damage, and even scarring have developed.

How do you recognize the signs of NASH if it does not produce symptoms?

While there may be no apparent symptoms of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, you could experience extreme exhaustion or pain in the upper right abdominal area, where the liver is located. In many cases, the initial signs of liver disease occur when cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) develops. Cirrhosis can cause multiple noticeable symptoms, such as:

  • Itching of the skin
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Yellowish appearance to the eyes and skin
In the absence of treatment, what health complications might occur with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis?

In the absence of care, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis could lead to liver fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. Liver fibrosis is a condition that occurs when inflammation and scarring impact the liver. The scar tissue can replace healthy areas (liver cirrhosis), which can cause liver function to slow or cease entirely. Without care, these conditions could result in liver failure and liver cancer.

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

Patients who are experiencing the early stages of NASH and have not experienced advanced damage to the liver might be able to reverse the effects by implementing lifestyle modifications, including healthy eating, regular exercise, and losing weight (if necessary). But if long-term or more extensive damage has resulted, the effects of NASH may be beyond repair. Our Florida digestive health providers can offer additional information and details regarding this condition.

Receiving the medical attention you need to preserve your liver health and minimize the impact of NASH can improve your quality of life. At Gastroenterology Associates of Florida, our GI doctors are dedicated to placing your health and wellness first, and our team takes a patient-centric approach to treating NASH. If you think you may have this condition or are searching for a doctor who offers NASH treatment in Florida, contact our office to schedule a meeting with a GI physician.

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