Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) in Tulsa, OK

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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is classified into different categories. The first category surrounds an excess of fat in the liver that does not cause any symptoms and also doesn't have any accompanying inflammation. Usually, this type is found when additional tests are being performed. If this disease is having an impact on your well-being, your GI specialist will go over the precautions you can take to spare your liver from further damage. This type of NAFLD is often considered non-cancerous, however, it does have the potential to advance into NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis).

The second category is more serious and is known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Like NAFLD, it is also defined by a buildup of fat in your liver that is accompanied by inflammation. NASH is typically found in patients who are heavier-set, are diabetic, and/or have high blood sugar, and/or have high cholesterol. Without proper care, NASH can harm liver function and cause other health concerns.

NASH is often diagnosed by the GI providers at an Adult Gastroenterology Associates location or hepatologists who partner with another medical specialist to offer comprehensive care. To learn more about the NASH treatment options in Tulsa, OK, please request a consultation today.

A number of patients who have non-alcoholic steatohepatitis manage day-to-day without issue. NASH can cause scarring of the liver, which is known as cirrhosis. If symptoms of NASH do occur, they may include:

  • Long-lasting fatigue
  • An ache in the upper right portion of the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you have been diagnosed with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and have trouble breathing, swollen legs, or you are unusually tired, contact your provider as soon as possible. The providers at an Adult Gastroenterology Associates location near you can provide care.

The exact cause of NASH is unknown. While it can affect young people, NASH generally is seen in older people. Other risk factors for NASH include:

  • Obesity
  • High blood sugar
  • High blood pressure
  • Adult-onset diabetes (type 2 diabetes)
  • Hispanic or Asian descent (although it can affect anyone)
  • Post-menopause
  • High cholesterol

When left untreated, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis can cause other health problems, such as cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even, liver failure. When it is diagnosed, managing your weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol can help not only your liver, but, also, your overall well-being.

After you've been diagnosed with NASH, you should routinely visit your Tulsa, OK GI specialist/hepatologist in order to monitor your liver. Treating NASH could consist of a combination of eating a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and sodium, and developing an exercise routine. Part of the treatment process includes addressing any pre-existing conditions that are known to increase the risk and/or severity of NASH.

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What is the difference between NASH and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?

NAFLD and NASH are forms of fatty liver disease. NAFLD is characterized by fat buildup in the liver. However, with this condition, damage has not occurred. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is a type of NAFLD that is also characterized by the buildup of fat in the liver. But in this case, inflammation and damage (including scarring) have developed.

How do you identify the signs of NASH if it does not produce symptoms?

Though there may be no outward symptoms of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, you could experience extreme exhaustion and fatigue or pain in the upper right abdominal area, where the liver is located. The first indication of liver disease, such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, is generally when scarring of the liver, or cirrhosis occurs. There are certain symptoms of cirrhosis you can watch for, such as:

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

If left untreated, NASH can result in fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. Liver fibrosis is a condition that develops when the liver becomes inflamed and scarred. This scar tissue that arises can overcome healthy tissue, which can cause liver function to slow or cease completely. Without treatment, fibrosis and cirrhosis could result in liver failure and cancer.

Is the damage from NASH reversible?

If you are experiencing the early stages of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and have not endured advanced liver damage, you may be able to successfully reverse the effects of the condition by implementing lifestyle modifications, like a healthy diet, exercise, and weight loss. But if long-term or more extensive damage is present, the effects of the condition might be irreversible. Our Tulsa, OK gastroenterology team can provide further information regarding NASH.

Getting the treatment you need to minimize the impact of NASH could also help improve your quality of life. At Adult Gastroenterology Associates, our providers are passionate about placing your overall wellness first, and we take a patient-centered approach to provide individualized service. If you think you may have NASH or are in need of a provider who offers treatment in Tulsa, OK, contact one of our locations to request a consultation.

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