Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) in Denver, CO
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What is NASH?
There are two categories of disease when it comes to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, commonly called NAFLD. The first involves an excess of fat in your liver that doesn't cause any visible symptoms or coexisting inflammation. Typically, this type of disease is diagnosed when additional tests are performed. If this condition impacts your health, your provider will review the steps you may want to take to preserve your liver from further damage. This particular type of NAFLD is also often considered benign, but it does have the possibility to advance into non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, commonly known as NASH.
The second type is more serious than NAFLD and is known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. It is also described by a buildup of fat in the liver that is accompanied by inflammation. NASH is generally found in individuals who are heavier-set, have diabetes or have high blood sugar, and/or have high cholesterol. Unless properly treated, NASH can harm liver function and lead to other health problems.
NASH is typically diagnosed by the GI providers at Denver Digestive Health Specialists or by hepatologists who partner with other medical specialists to provide comprehensive care. To learn more about the NASH treatment options in Denver, CO, please contact our practice today.
Are there symptoms of NASH?
Many patients who have non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) manage day-to-day without any symptoms. NASH can, sometimes, result in scarring of the liver, which is called cirrhosis. If NASH symptoms occur, they might include:
- Unexplained loss of weight
- Constant fatigue
- Pain or aching in the upper right part of your abdomen
In the event you have been diagnosed with NASH and begin to have trouble breathing, swelling in your legs, or are unusually tired, contact your GI specialist immediately. The specialists at Denver Digestive Health Specialists can help.
Am I at risk for NASH?
The reason for developing NASH remains unknown. While it might affect younger people, NASH is most often seen in older ones. Additional risk factors for NASH include:
- Asian or Hispanic descent (however, NASH can be seen in anyone)
- High cholesterol
- Being overweight
- High blood pressure
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes
- Blood sugar levels that are high
How is NASH treated?
Without treatment, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis may cause additional health issues, such as cirrhosis, liver cancer, and in the end, liver failure. When it is diagnosed, managing your weight, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol can have positive effects on, not just your liver, but your whole body.
After being diagnosed with NASH, you will need to routinely see your Denver, CO, GI specialist/hepatologist in order to monitor your liver. NASH treatments could consist of a combination of eating a healthy diet, limiting sugar and sodium, and developing an exercise routine. We will also need to address any pre-existing conditions that may increase the risk of NASH.
Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis FAQs
What are the main differences between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis?
NAFLD and NASH are forms of fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is characterized by fat buildup in the liver, but no damage is present with this variation. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is a type of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that also involves fat accumulation in the liver but causes inflammation, damage, and even scarring.
How can you notice the signs of NASH if it does not produce symptoms?
Although there may be no discernible symptoms of NASH, you may experience lethargy or pain in the upper right side of your abdomen where your liver is. The first sign of liver disease, like NASH, is generally when scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) occurs. Cirrhosis can cause certain symptoms you can observe, such as:
- Yellowish appearance to the eyes and skin
- Abdominal swelling
In the absence of care, what health complications might occur with NASH?
Without proper care, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis can result in liver fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. Liver fibrosis results when the liver becomes inflamed and scarred. The scar tissue that arises can replace healthy areas, known as liver cirrhosis, which can cause liver function to diminish or stop altogether. In the absence of treatment, fibrosis and cirrhosis could lead to liver cancer and liver failure.
Is the damage from non-alcoholic steatohepatitis reversible?
People who are experiencing the initial stages of NASH and have not endured severe liver damage might be able to successfully reverse the effects of the condition by adopting lifestyle modifications. These could include healthy eating, exercising regularly, and losing weight (if necessary). But if chronic or more advanced damage has resulted, the effects of the condition may not be reversible. Our Denver, CO gastroenterology providers can provide further information about this condition.
Improve your liver health
Getting the medical attention you need to maintain your liver health and reduce the impact of NASH can increase your quality of life. At Denver Digestive Health Specialists, our GI providers are dedicated to placing your wellness first, and we take a patient-centered approach to provide individualized service. If you believe you might have the condition or are in need of a provider who offers treatment for NASH in Denver, CO, call our office to request an appointment with a GI specialist.
Dr.Siegel is one of the best GI Doctors I been bless to have Him as my doctor !
Dr. Siegel was very detailed and paid attention to my answers and asked the right questions to get more insight on my health concerns. Having a caring and compassionate person also address things that are important to patients
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Dr Fishman is a compassionate, knowledgeable physician who cares about his patients. He doesn’t stop until he finds the right answer to the problem. He is a caring individual who will continue to work to keep you healthy. I am so glad I found him and that he is personable and so easy to talk to. So glad I am his patient.
I’ve had 2 colonoscopies done by Dr Fishman and had my first in office visit recently. I highly recommend Dr Fishman for his knowledge, professionalism and caring approach. Very transparent and takes his time ensuring all questions are answered and you are satisfied with your appointment.