The Road to NASH


The Fatty Liver Foundation states that if you have two friends, one of you has a fatty liver. There are two main types of fatty liver disease; alcoholic and non-alcoholic. NASH is under the non-alcoholic umbrella and is the 2nd stage of 4 in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). If left untreated, NASH can progress to cirrhosis. However, there is hope, and it is possible to slow the progression or even prevent it IF you act now. 

What is NASH?


Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH is a form of NAFLD. A healthy liver contains small amounts of fat. However, in fatty liver disease, there is an unhealthy buildup of fat. Higher fat deposits cause inflammation and, if not treated, can lead to scarring that is not reversible. There are four stages in NAFLD. NASH is stage two.

  1. Simple Fatty LiverExcess buildup of fat in the liver. This stage is harmless, and most people don't know they have fatty liver until a routine test picks it up.
  2. Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) - Excess buildup of fat and inflammation. NASH is a more aggressive form of NAFLD. There may be a dull, aching pain felt in the top right of the abdomen. 
  3. Fibrosis - Chronic inflammation causes fibrosis scarring, which replaces healthy liver tissue.
  4. Cirrhosis.- Scarring is widespread and irreversible. The liver shrinks and becomes lumpy. Eventually, the liver stops functioning.

What causes the excess buildup of fat in the liver is not entirely clear. Some factors put you at a higher risk of developing fatty liver. These include obesity, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and high triglycerides. 

It Can't Wait


In many cases, it is possible to prevent further progression into later stages or even reverse fatty liver. Weight loss and lifestyle changes such as eating healthy, managing chronic conditions, and exercising can reduce the amount of fat in your liver. Since most people do not know they have fatty liver, it is crucial to get routine checks if you are at a higher risk.

Remember, NASH is the stage at which begins the inflammation. It is often called the "tipping point". NAFLD can take years to progress. Once you hit the NASH stage, the timeline almost doubles in speed to the subsequent stages. With quick intervention, cirrhosis can occur, and your chances of liver failure and cancer increase.

Advancing Treatment Through Clinical Trials

There is no FDA approved treatment for NASH currently, and more research is needed to develop and test treatments. Clinical research is working to improve treatment and prevention options for NASH and many other conditions. Right now, there are research sites conducting studies looking into these new options. Centex is one of those sites. If you or someone you love is at a higher risk of developing or have been diagnosed with NASH, clinical research studies may be an option. To learn more about currently clinical research study for NASH, please call 281-918-0048 or sign up for more information online here: South Houston, McAllen, Lake Charles


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