Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) & Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)

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Definition & Facts

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which fat builds up in your liver. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a type of NAFLD. If you have NASH, you have inflammation and liver cell damage, along with fat in your liver.

Symptoms & Causes

Usually, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) cause few or no symptoms. Certain health conditions—including obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes—make you more likely to develop NAFLD and NASH.

Diagnosis

Doctors use your medical history, a physical exam, and tests to diagnose nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Tests may include blood tests, imaging tests, and sometimes liver biopsy.

Treatment

Doctors recommend weight loss to treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Weight loss can reduce fat in the liver, inflammation, and fibrosis. No medicines have been approved to treat NAFLD and NASH.

Eating, Diet, & Nutrition

You may be able to prevent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis fatty liver disease (NASH) by eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight. If you have NAFLD and NASH, your doctor may recommend weight loss and diet changes.

Clinical Trials

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.

Related Conditions & Diseases

Related Diagnostic Tests

Your Digestive System & How it Works

The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract-also called the digestive tract-and the liver, pancreas, and the gallbladder. The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus.

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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

The NIDDK would like to thank:
Anna Mae Diehl, M.D., Duke University Medical Center, and Brent A. Tetri, M.D., Saint Louis University

This information is not copyrighted. The NIDDK encourages people to share this content freely.