Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH): Symptoms and Causes


Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a non-alcoholic liver disease that’s important to know about. Liver disease is a serious condition with up to 100% of heavy drinks showing symptoms of fatty liver. The liver is the largest internal organ in the human body. Like the other organs, it’s important to take steps to keep it as healthy as possible. If you have liver disease, it’s also important to take steps to treat the condition effectively. This can help to reduce the risk of it becoming a more serious condition like cirrhosis. The liver’s main job is to help remove toxins from the body so when it’s unable to function properly this can cause various physical/mental problems.

It’s critical to know various factors related to NASH. This includes the main causes of the condition like diet, medical conditions, and diseases. Since there are various stages of liver diseases you should also know the signs of NASH so you can get tests run to find out whether or not you have NASH or another condition. For example, some symptoms are linked to other diseases so there’s a chance you might actually have a different condition besides NASH. Your doctor can conduct an examination and order tests to determine what’s causing the symptoms.

What Is NAFLD All about?

This acronym stands for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This term actually refers to several liver health conditions that are basically unrelated to alcohol. NAFLD patients drink a small amount or no alcohol at all.

NAFLD is also named for the condition involving too much fat stored within the vital organ. This condition is becoming more common throughout the world. This is especially true in nations where the population often consumes the so-called Standard American Diet (SAD).

NAFLD is actually the most frequent kind of serious liver disease. About 25% of the general population has this condition.

In some cases, people with NAFLD have a more serious condition known as NASH. This health condition includes inflammation and might become more serious conditions like liver failure and cirrhosis. This condition is closely linked to alcoholism but can also involve non-alcoholic drinkers.

NAFLD typically produces no signs/symptoms. However, in the cases it does the patient might experience pain/discomfort in the abdomen, and fatigue. However, if the condition becomes worse then there are symptoms to watch out for linked to NASH and cirrhosis. In these cases, the symptoms have become worse and require stronger treatments.

Health experts are still researching why some people experience fat buildup within their livers and others don’t. They’re also unsure why some fatty livers progress into inflamed livers or liver cirrhosis.

That said, there are several conditions/diseases that increases the risk of NAFLD including:

  • High cholesterol
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Under-active thyroid
  • High blood fat levels
  • Obesity including belly fat
  • Metabolism problems

There are also certain groups that are ore like to experience NAFLD/NASH. They include older people, diabetics, and obese people. It’s critical for doctors to determine whether patients have NAFLD or that condition along with NASH. Tests are required to determine which category a patient is in.

What Is Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis?

NASH is one kind of NAFLD that involves fatty liver, inflammation, and liver damage. If you think you might have these symptoms then it’s important to contact your doctor so you can get it checked out.

NAFLD and NASH usually have few/no symptoms. There are various conditions that make a person at higher risk of getting NAFLD/NASH. They include metabolism issues, obesity, and type-2 diabetes. So if you have these conditions it’s important to get it checked out to find out whether or not you also have NASH.

Another key reason to get screened for NASH is it can develop into more serious types of liver disease like cirrhosis. Getting tested can help to determine whether or not there’s a good chance you have this NAFLD/NASH.

Doctors diagnose NAFLD and NASH by using different tools. They include physical exam, medical history, and medical tests. This can help to determine whether or not you have either or both of these conditions.

There is a wide range of different tests. They include imaging tests, liver biopsy, and blood tests. Multiple tests are often run to figure out whether or not the patient has NAFLD /NASH. While NASH is more serious both of these conditions are ones you should try to avoid since they can cause unwanted side-effects.

The two conditions are treated using different methods. They include weight loss. This can help to lower liver fat, fibrosis, and inflammation. It’s worth noting that the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved any prescription medicines to treat NAFLD/NASH.

If you want to prevent these conditions then there are various steps you can take. They include maintaining a healthy weight and consuming a healthy/well-balanced diet. If you have both of these conditions then your doctor might suggest diet changes and weight loss.

Top Foods to Eat for Fatty Liver

1. Fatty Fish

Make sure to pick ones like:

  • Trout
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Salmon

These options are high in healthy fats known as omega-3s. Studies show that these fatty acids can help to lower levels of liver fat. They’re also effective at reducing inflammation, which is also related to liver health. Try to avoid fried fish and go with options like baked, broiled, steamed, grilled, and baked.

2. Garlic

It’s not just for fighting off vampires! This superfood might help to lower body weight, which can benefit patients with fatty liver disease. It’s a cinch to add this herb to your foods including fresh and powdered garlic.

3. Greens

There are various reasons everyone should be eating green veggies including leafy greens. For example, studies show that foods like broccoli, kale, and spinach can help with weight loss, which can help to lower liver fat.

4. Sunflower Seeds

These healthy seeds are high in nutrients like Vitamin E and antioxidants. This can help the body to heal and prevent liver damage. The seeds are also high in other nutrients like protein, fiber, and other vitamins/minerals.

5. Coffee

Make sure to go with freshly brewed with a little milk/cream/butter and hold the sugar. Various studies show that coffee can benefit patients with fatty liver disease. It can also reduce liver damage versus those who don’t drink caffeinated beverages. What’s the big deal? Studies show that caffeine seems to decrease the number of bad liver enzymes in a vital organ.

6. Tofu

This is one of the many soy-based products on the market. Others include soybeans, soy milk, and miso soup. A US-based study showed that soy protein can help to slow down fat buildup within the liver. Tofu provides other benefits. For example, it’s a complete protein with all essential amino acids (EAAs), which is a plus for treating nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

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