Usually, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are silent diseases with few or no symptoms. You may not have symptoms even if you develop cirrhosis due to NASH.
If you do have symptoms, you may feel tired or have discomfort in the upper right side of your abdomen.
Experts are still studying the causes of NAFLD and NASH. Research suggests that certain health conditions make you more likely to develop NAFLD or NASH.
You are more likely to develop NAFLD—either simple fatty liver or NASH—if you
Research also suggests that certain genes may make you more likely to develop NAFLD. Experts are still studying the genes that may play a role in NAFLD.
In NAFLD, people have a buildup of fat in the liver that is not caused by alcohol use. If you have a history of heavy alcohol use and fat in your liver, your doctor may determine that you have alcoholic liver disease instead of NAFLD.
Experts are not sure why some people with NAFLD have NASH and others have simple fatty liver. Research suggests that certain genes may play a role.
People with NAFLD are more likely to have NASH if they have one or more of the following conditions:
Less common causes of NAFLD and NASH include
A study funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases found that people who had surgery to remove their gallbladder were more likely to develop NAFLD. More research is needed on the link between gallbladder removal and NAFLD.
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 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