Is NASH a Serious Health Concern?
Often referred to as NASH, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is a health concern that causes liver irritation and damage resulting from an overabundance of fatty tissue. A variation of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), this liver problem can scar tissue to form and lead to advanced health concerns, including liver fibrosis. Our gastroenterologists in Dallas, TX offer diagnostic services and specialized care for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. If you would like to find out more about NASH and how it can be managed, please take a moment to read our post or schedule a visit with our team. At Digestive Health Associates of Texas, our practitioners are devoted to helping you improve your gastrointestinal (GI) health and wellness.
What health conditions might increase the risk of NASH?
The liver is important for proper digestion and assists in removing waste from the body. When this organ becomes severely damaged, cirrhosis of the liver can arise, which typically requires extensive care and treatment. Health conditions that can increase your risks for developing NASH include:
- Being overweight
- Diabetic conditions
- Elevated cholesterol levels
- Metabolic syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Underactive thyroid
As a progressive disease, NASH can result in symptoms that include jaundice, upset stomach, bleeding easily, fatigue, abdominal swelling, and telangiectasia (spider veins), abdominal swelling. To diagnose the condition, our Dallas, TX gastroenterologists will perform blood tests, assess any signs or symptoms, and utilize cutting-edge imaging procedures, like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound and FibroScan®, to identify fat content in the liver. This can enable our GI team to create a treatment protocol designed to target your specific health concerns.
The stages of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
The four stages of NAFLD disease include simple fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), fibrosis, and cirrhosis. The initial stage of simple fatty liver disease does not always present obvious symptoms, leaving many patients unaware they have a liver problem. The next stage, NASH, signifies a more severe phase of the condition, which creates liver inflammation and may cause minor pain in the upper abdomen. When NASH occurs, cellular tissue in the liver has been damaged.
Some patients diagnosed with this type of liver disease develop stage three or fibrosis. As irritation in the organ persists, scar tissue begins to replace normal tissue; however, there may still be enough healthy tissue to allow for liver function. In the fourth stage, cirrhosis develops, which prevents the liver from functioning properly. At this point, your body is unable to filter waste properly, often leading to liver failure.
How is NASH managed?
Among the most critical elements of controlling NASH is to implement healthier lifestyle habits. With ideal nutrition, a balanced diet, routine physical activity, and receiving care for any other health conditions, like diabetes or underactive thyroid, individuals can markedly decrease the health consequences of this form of NAFLD. Additionally, avoiding some supplements, certain medications, and alcohol can decrease the effects this progressive disease has on your liver and general wellness. Our GI doctors can explain the most effective ways to lower the risk of developing nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and help keep further liver damage from occurring. Prioritizing the health and wellness of all those we treat, we work to make sure each patient who visits Digestive Health Associates of Texas gets a personalized treatment plan that assists with their specific concerns.
Get treatment for NASH in Dallas, TX
Our Dallas, TX gastroenterology team wants to help patients reduce the progression of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and enable them to live an improved quality of life. As a vital organ, the liver plays a critical role in your GI system. We highly recommend taking a preventive stance on investigating any type of symptoms of a liver problem. To learn more about NASH, and how to keep the disease from advancing, please contact Digestive Health Associates of Texas to schedule a consultation.