WHAT IS NAFLD?
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the build up of extra fat in liver cells that is not caused by alcohol. It is normal for the liver to contain some fat. However, if more than 5% – 10% percent of the liver’s weight is fat, then it is called a fatty liver (steatosis).
WHO IS LIKELY TO HAVE NAFLD?
NAFLD tends to develop in people who are overweight or obese or have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides. Rapid weight loss and poor eating habits also may lead to NAFLD.
However, some people develop NAFLD even if they do not have any risk factors. NAFLD affects up to 25% of people in the United States.
NAFLD may cause the liver to swell (steatohepatitis). A swollen liver may cause scarring (cirrhosis) over time and may even lead to liver cancer or liver failure.
NAFLD often has no symptoms.
When symptoms occur, they may include fatigue, weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, spider-like blood vessels, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), itching, fluid build up and swelling of the legs (edema) and abdomen (ascites), and mental confusion.
NAFLD is initially suspected if blood tests show high levels of liver enzymes. However, other liver diseases are first ruled out through additional tests. Often, an ultrasound is used to confirm the NAFLD diagnosis.
There are no medical treatments yet for NAFLD. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly may help prevent liver damage from starting or reverse it in the early stages.
- See a doctor who specializes in the liver regularly
- Talk to your doctor about ways to improve your liver health
- Lose weight, if you are overweight or obese
- Lower your cholesterol and triglycerides
- Control your diabetes
- Avoid alcohol
AM I AT RISK?
If you have one or more of the following risk factors, we recommend coming in for free testing:
- Over 50
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
WHAT IS THE TEST?
What is Fibroscan®?
A fibroscan is an exam of your liver that is similar to ultrasound. Fibroscan uses vibration controlled transient elastrography technology to determine liver health non-invasively.
Why is Fibroscan® done?
When other tests indicate that your liver may not be working properly, your doctor may want to do a fibroscan to more accurately learn the condition of your liver. Unlike a liver biopsy, a fibroscan is usually quick, painless and performed in a clinic setting.
Fibroscan is a simple, non-invasive way to learn the condition of your liver. A Fibroscan helps:
- determine how much fat is stored in the liver; and
- determine the degree of fibrosis and/or cirrhosis.
Echosense. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.echosens.us/
NAFLD. (2016, December 28). Retrieved from http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/nafld/