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.
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.
Guava and Tamarind Sauce Apricot Sesame Biscotti Savory Tofu-Vegetable Stir Fry Kosher-style Mushroom Soup Apfelkuchen Peach Bread Pudding Greens and Orzo in Broth Orange Roughy with Roasted Tomato and Olive Relish Lemon Dill Carrots Apricot Gratin
Because I apparently have a lot of free time on my hands and because I’m remarkably immature, I offer my first installment of a series I will call, “Typo.” If you’re like me, you might be lazy. You might have a pile of clean clothes on the side of your bed the size of an igloo that you promised your wife you’d put away weeks ago. You might also shorten words because one-syllable words are way easier to say than two. I often refer to Dexcom as Dex....