How Serious Is NASH?
NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) is a disease that results in liver inflammation and damage due to an accumulation of fat in the liver. A variation of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), this liver concern may lead to scarring and concerning conditions, such as liver cirrhosis. Our gastroenterologists in Tulsa, OK carry out diagnostic services and personalized care for NASH and other liver issues. For more information about this liver concern and how it might be managed, continue reading this post and then schedule an appointment with our team. At Adult Gastroenterology Associates, we are devoted to helping patients elevate their gastrointestinal (GI) health through personalized care.
What factors contribute to NASH?
A critical organ, the liver is necessary for healthy digestion and assists in removing bodily waste. When the liver suffers significant damage, scar tissue and cirrhosis can develop, which typically requires extensive care and treatment. Health conditions that can escalate your chances for developing nonalcoholic steatohepatitis include:
- Being overweight
- Diabetic conditions
- Elevated cholesterol
- Metabolic syndrome
- Sleep apnea
NASH is a progressive disease that may present symptoms, such as fatigue, nausea, jaundice, bleeding easily, telangiectasia (spider veins), and fluid retention. In an effort to inhibit the condition from advancing, our gastrointestinal specialists in Tulsa, OK might perform blood tests, review your symptoms, and use state-of-the-art imaging services, including FibroScan®, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and ultrasound technology, to detect fat content in the liver. These diagnostic services will allow our team to develop a treatment protocol that caters to your medical needs.
What are the progressive stages of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease?
There are four stages of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which are defined as: simple fatty liver disease (also called liver steatosis), NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis), fibrosis, and cirrhosis. During the initial stage of simple fatty liver disease, most individuals typically do not present obvious symptoms and are often unaware that they have the condition. The next stage, NASH, is a more concerning state of the disease, which creates liver inflammation that may be accompanied by minor discomfort in the upper abdomen. If the disease has advanced to this stage, liver damage has occurred.
Sometimes, individuals with this liver condition develop fibrosis (stage three of NAFLD). As inflammation in the organ worsens, scar tissue may form, but often there is still healthy enough tissue to support liver function. In the fourth stage, cirrhosis develops, which prevents the liver from functioning normally. At this point, the body is unable to filter waste in a proper manner, often leading to life-threatening liver failure.
How is nonalcoholic steatohepatitis managed?
The most fundamental element of managing nonalcoholic hepatitis is to implement healthier lifestyle changes. By following proper nutrition, exercising regularly, and controlling other medical conditions, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism, you could significantly minimize the impacts of NASH. In addition, avoiding some supplements, alcohol, and certain medications can reduce the impact this long-term condition has on your liver and general health. Our GI team can offer guidance on how to reduce the chances of developing NASH and help hinder the progression of liver damage. Offering personalized care, our practitioners strive to make sure every person who visits Adult Gastroenterology Associates gets a detailed treatment plan curated for their specific health concerns.
Find the care you need for NASH in Tulsa, OK
Our GI specialists want to help patients protect against the advancement of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and allow them to enjoy a long, healthy life. The liver plays an important role in your GI system so our liver specialists urge you to take a preventive stance on seeking care for any type of liver concern. To learn more about NASH or how you can help keep the disease from further impacting your health, contact Adult Gastroenterology Associates in Tulsa, OK to schedule a visit with a GI doctor.