Patient Education

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a very common disorder and refers to a group of conditions where there is a buildup of excess fat in the liver of people. It is common in diabetics, with anywhere from 30-70% of diabetics with fatty liver. The most common form of NAFLD is a non-serious condition called fatty liver. In fatty liver, fat collects in the liver cells. Although having fat in the liver is not normal, by itself it probably does not damage the liver. A small group of individuals with NAFLD may have a more serious condition called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In NASH, the fat buildup is linked to liver cell inflammation and eventual increasing levels of scarring. NASH is a potentially severe condition that may lead to advanced liver scarring called cirrhosis. At its most severe, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can progress to liver failure or liver cancer.

Currently, there is no treatment for NAFLD other than diet modifications, exercise and weight loss. For those that drink alcohol, minimal to no use is recommended. There are currently studies being performed to approve medications for those with advancing fibrosis. Treatment of associated conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol also help to prevent progression to advanced liver scarring. Aggressive management of fatty liver disease is important because this disease is now the number one indication for liver transplantation in our country.

We are now offering in-office FibroScan, a non-invasive technology similar to ultrasound that quickly provides an assessment of liver stiffness and liver fat quantification. Additionally, we have partnered with MetaPhy Health, to provide comprehensive care for patients with NAFLD, including dietician consultation, regular monitoring of weight and blood pressure, and exercise counseling.

Read more about FibroScan here: FibroScan