Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a form of fatty liver disease characterized by inflammation, swelling and liver damage. Long-term complications can include cirrhosis and, in turn, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a type of liver cancer. Because screening for NASH is not commonplace and it can take years for symptoms to occur, it is important to know if you are at risk and how to identify the warning signs.
Fatty liver disease that is not related to significant alcohol consumption is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NASH is the most severe form of NAFLD.
Some fat in the liver is normal. But, if more than five percent of the liver’s weight is fat, it is considered to be a fatty liver. The buildup of fat makes it harder for the liver to function.
Are you at risk?
It is important to be in tune with your body, keep regular medical appointments and communicate openly and honestly with your doctor — especially if any of these common risk factors apply to you:
- Being an older adult
- Being overweight or obese, especially with body fat around the abdomen
- High cholesterol, especially triglycerides
- Diabetes or being pre-diabetic
- High blood pressure