Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) in Houston, TX

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There are two different categories of the condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The first disease surrounds a buildup of fat in the liver that doesn't cause any visible symptoms and has no accompanying inflammation. Typically, this type of NAFLD is found when other tests are performed. If this disease is impacting your well-being, our GI doctor will go over the steps you might take to protect your liver from additional damage. This particular type of NAFLD is also considered benign, but it does have the potential to advance into non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the second (and more serious) type of NAFLD.

NASH is also characterized by a buildup of fat in the liver that is accompanied by inflammation. NASH is generally seen in patients who are heavier-set, are diabetic and have high blood sugar, and have high cholesterol. Without proper care, NASH can impact liver function and cause additional health complications.

NASH is typically diagnosed by the GI specialists at Gastroenterology Consultants or by hepatologists who are partnered with other medical specialists to give you comprehensive care. To learn more about NASH treatments in Houston, TX, contact us today.

The majority of people living with NASH may go through their lives without developing symptoms. NASH might, at times, result in scarring of the liver, which is known as cirrhosis. If symptoms of NASH occur, they might involve:

  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen

If you have been diagnosed with NASH and develop difficulty breathing, your legs are starting to swell, or you are unusually tired, contact your GI specialist immediately. Our specialists at Gastroenterology Consultants can provide care.

Medical researchers haven't reached a consensus about what exactly causes NASH. While it could affect younger individuals, this condition generally impacts older ones. Some other risk factors for NASH could include:

  • High blood sugar
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Post-menopause
  • High cholesterol
  • Hispanic or Asian descent (but it can affect anyone)

In the absence of proper treatment, NASH can result in further health problems such as cirrhosis, liver cancer, or liver failure. In the event the condition is diagnosed, taking control of your weight, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol can have positive effects on not just your liver, but your body.

After being diagnosed with NASH, you will want to regularly visit your Houston, TX GI specialist/hepatologist in order to monitor your liver. Treatments for NASH could involve a combo of eating healthy, limited sugar and sodium, and regular exercise. We will also need to address any previous conditions that are known to increase the risk and/or severity of NASH.

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What are the main differences between NASH and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis are both forms of fatty liver disease. NAFLD describes fat accumulation in the liver, but with this variation, damage has not occurred. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is a type of NAFLD that is also characterized by fat accumulation in the liver. However, inflammation and damage, including scarring, have developed.

How can you detect the signs of NASH if there are no symptoms?

Even though there may be no apparent symptoms of NASH, you could have extreme exhaustion or pain in the upper right side of your abdomen (where the liver is). In general, the initial indicator of liver disease, like NASH, is when scarring of the live (called cirrhosis) occurs. Cirrhosis may cause certain symptoms you can watch for, including:

  • Itching
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
If left untreated, what complications can result from non-alcoholic steatohepatitis?

In the absence of treatment, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis may lead to liver fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. Fibrosis occurs when the liver becomes inflamed and scarred. The scar tissue that forms can overcome healthy areas, known as liver cirrhosis, which can cause liver function to diminish or stop entirely. Without care, fibrosis and cirrhosis can result in liver cancer and failure.

Is the damage from non-alcoholic steatohepatitis reversible?

People who are experiencing the early stages of NASH and have not endured advanced damage to the liver may be able to reverse the effects of the condition with lifestyle modifications. These could include proper nutrition, regular exercise, and losing weight (if necessary). However, if chronic or more severe damage has resulted, the effects of the condition might be beyond repair. Our Houston, TX digestive health specialists can offer further details surrounding this disease.

If you're burdened with symptoms related to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, getting the care you need for your condition may boost your quality of life. At Gastroenterology Consultants, our GI specialists are dedicated to placing your health and wellness first, and our team takes a patient-centric approach to your care. If you have recently been diagnosed with this condition or are seeking a doctor who offers NASH treatment in Houston, TX, please contact our facility to schedule an appointment with a GI specialist.

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