What is Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?
Fatty liver disease occurs when extra fat inside the liver interferes with removing toxins from your blood. A common cause is drinking too much alcohol. When the fatty liver doesn’t result from drinking too much, it’s called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
The term “nonalcoholic fatty liver disease” is used when the liver is not damaged. It’s also known as “metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease.” Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis refers to excess fat in the liver that includes signs of inflammation and liver cell damage.
Symptoms of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
- Severe fatigue
- Pain in the right upper belly
- Weight loss
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Spiderlike blood vessels on the skin
- Long-lasting itching
But symptoms aren’t always present, so the disease is often diagnosed when you have routine blood tests to check your liver.
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UR Medicine's Treatments for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Diagnostic tests can include imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI; a specialized blood test; or a liver biopsy.
If you have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease without any other health problems, making some lifestyle changes can control or reverse the fat buildup in your liver. These may include losing weight, lowering your cholesterol and triglycerides, controlling diabetes if you have it, and not drinking alcohol.
If liver damage is present, no medicine can fully reverse the fat buildup. Sometimes the liver damage stops or even reverses itself, but other times the disease gets worse. In that case, treatments and lifestyle changes may include:
- Losing weight
- Exercising more
- Taking medicine to lower cholesterol or triglycerides
- Taking medicine to lower blood pressure
- Taking medicine to control diabetes
- Limiting over-the-counter medicines
- Not drinking alcohol (no amount of alcohol is considered safe once you have liver damage)
- Eating a diet low in fat and simple carbohydrates
- Seeing a liver specialist
What Sets Us Apart?
The Center for Liver Disease offers a complete range of liver disease services, including both transplant and non-transplant hepatology. We’re the only liver transplant center in the region.
As a multidisciplinary center, we provide all the specialists you might need—including hepatologists, oncologists, rheumatologists, and others—without having to send you to another center.
Our team-based decision-making approach speeds your care while involving doctors from many different disciplines. We’re often able to see patients within a day.
And our doctors make a practice of following up on patients, often calling them between appointments.
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Ambulatory Care Center at Strong Memorial Hospital
601 Elmwood Avenue, Ambulatory Care Center, 4th & 5th Floor
Rochester, NY 14642