Fatty Liver

 

Diagnosis



Liver Biopsy

Image credit: NIDDK/NIH

NASH is usually first suspected in a person who is found to have elevations in liver tests that are included in routine blood test panels, such as alanine aminotransferase (ALT) or aspartate aminotransferase (AST). When further evaluation shows no apparent reason for liver disease (such as medications, viral hepatitis, or excessive use of alcohol) and when x rays or imaging studies of the liver show fat, NASH is suspected. The only means of proving a diagnosis of NASH and separating it from simple fatty liver is a liver biopsy. For a liver biopsy, a needle is inserted through the skin to remove a small piece of the liver. NASH is diagnosed when examination of the tissue with a microscope shows fat along with inflammation and damage to liver cells. If the tissue shows fat without inflammation and damage, simple fatty liver or NAFLD is diagnosed. An important piece of information learned from the biopsy is whether scar tissue has developed in the liver. Currently, no blood tests or scans can reliably provide this information.

Symptoms

<

Liver Damage

Image credit: NIDDK/NIH

NASH is usually a silent disease with few or no symptoms. Patients generally feel well in the early stages and only begin to have symptomssuch as fatigue, weight loss, and weaknessonce the disease is more advanced or cirrhosis develops. The progression of NASH can take years, even decades. The process can stop and, in some cases, reverse on its own without specific therapy. Or NASH can slowly worsen, causing scarring or fibrosis to appear and accumulate in the liver. As fibrosis worsens, cirrhosis develops; the liver becomes seriously scarred, hardened, and unable to function normally. Not every person with NASH develops cirrhosis, but once serious scarring or cirrhosis is present, few treatments can halt the progression. A person with cirrhosis experiences fluid retention, muscle wasting, bleeding from the intestines, and liver failure. Liver transplantation is the only treatment for advanced cirrhosis with liver failure, and transplantation is increasingly performed in people with NASH. NASH ranks as one of the major causes of cirrhosis in America, behind hepatitis C and alcoholic liver disease.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Last Modified Date: January 10, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

More On This Topic

No items are associated with this tag

Sign up for FREE dLife Newsletters

dLife Membership is FREE! Get exclusive access, free recipes, newsletters, savings, and much more! FPO

Congratulations!
You are subscribed!
Congratulations!
You are subscribed!
Congratulations!
You are subscribed!
121 Views 0 comments
by Brenda Bell
There was a test strip that X used. There was blood on edge of the test strip that X used. The test strip that X used had sat on the desk. The desk is now tainted by the blood on the test strip that X used. There was work on the desk. The work is now tainted from the desk that held the test strip that X used. The work was picked up by Y. Y's hands are now contaminated by X's blood from the test strip that lie on his desk when Y's work was...