Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) in Dallas, TX

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There are two different categories of disease when it comes to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The first involves a buildup of fat in the liver that causes no real symptoms or accompanying inflammation. Typically, this type is diagnosed when additional tests are being performed. If this type of disease is having an impact on your health, your GI specialist will review with you the process you might take to preserve your liver from additional damage. This type of NAFLD is often considered non-cancerous, however, it does have the possibility to advance into non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

The second is more serious than NAFLD and is called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Like NAFLD, it is also characterized by a buildup of fat in a patient's liver as well as causes inflammation. NASH is typically seen in people who are heavier set, have diabetes or high blood sugar, and have high cholesterol. Without proper care, NASH can harm liver function and cause additional health complications.

NASH is often diagnosed by the GI specialists at Digestive Health Associates of Texas or hepatologists who are partnered with other medical specialists to give you comprehensive care. To learn more about the NASH treatment options in Dallas, TX, please contact Digestive Health Associates of Texas to find a provider in your community.

Many individuals who have non-alcoholic steatohepatitis live their lives without developing symptoms. NASH can, at times, cause scarring to the liver, which is known as cirrhosis. If NASH symptoms do occur, they could involve:

  • Unintentional loss of weight
  • Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen
  • Everlasting fatigue

If you have been diagnosed with NASH and find it's becoming hard to breathe, your legs are swelling, or you are unusually tired, contact your doctor immediately. The doctors at Digestive Health Associates of Texas can help you find answers.

The cause of NASH remains unknown. Although it may affect younger people, the condition most often impacts older ones. Other risk factors for NASH include:

  • Post-menopause
  • High blood pressure
  • Being overweight
  • High blood sugar
  • High cholesterol
  • Hispanic or Asian descent (however, it can affect anyone)
  • Diabetes, type 2
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Left untreated, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis can create more health issues, including cirrhosis, liver cancer, and in the end, liver failure. In the event it is diagnosed, taking control of your weight, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol levels can have positive effects on not just your liver, but your whole body.

After you've been diagnosed with NASH, you will need to regularly visit your Dallas, TX GI specialist/hepatologist to monitor your liver. Treatments for NASH could consist of a combo of eating healthy, avoiding sugar and sodium, and developing an exercise routine. Additionally, we'll need to address any additional conditions that may increase the risk and/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 both types of fatty liver disease. NAFLD is characterized by the buildup of fat within the liver, but with this condition, no damage is present. NASH is a form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that is also characterized by the buildup of fat in the liver. However, this condition causes damage and even scarring of the liver.

How can you detect the signs of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis if there are no symptoms?

Although there may be no noticeable symptoms of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, you might notice pain around the liver in the upper right side of the abdomen or feel lethargic. The first sign of liver disease, such as NASH, is commonly when cirrhosis occurs (scarring of the liver). Some of the symptoms of cirrhosis are easily detectable, such as:

  • Yellowish appearance to the skin and eyes
  • Swelling in the abdominal area
  • Itching
In the absence of care, what complications can develop with NASH?

In the absence of treatment, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis can lead to liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. Fibrosis develops when inflammation and scarring impact the liver. This scar tissue can replace healthy areas, known as cirrhosis, which can cause liver function to diminish or stop completely. In the absence of treatment, fibrosis and cirrhosis can result in liver failure and liver cancer.

Is it possible to reverse the damage caused by non-alcoholic steatohepatitis?

Those in the early stages of NASH and who do not have severe liver damage might successfully reverse the effects with lifestyle modifications, like nutrition, exercise, and losing weight (if necessary). However, if long-term or more advanced damage has developed, the effects of the condition may not be reversible. Our Dallas, TX gastroenterology providers can offer additional details and information about this disease.

Receiving the care you need to manage your liver health and cut down on the impact of NASH could increase your day-to-day living. At Digestive Health Associates of Texas, our GI specialists are here to place your health and wellness first, and our team takes a patient-centric approach to providing individualized service. If you have been diagnosed with the condition or are in need of a doctor who offers treatment for NASH in Dallas, TX, call our office to locate a GI physician near you.

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