To make an appointment with a UPMC liver disease expert, call 412-647-1170 or fill out our contact form.
Fatty liver disease is a condition in which too much fat collects within the liver. Alcoholics are especially at risk for fatty liver disease.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is when this condition occurs in someone who doesn't drink large amounts of alcohol.
NAFLD affects about 30 percent of people living in the U.S.
There are two types of NAFLD: simple fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
While people will have fat in the liver with both types, they differ in some major ways.
Experts aren't quite sure what causes NAFLD. Research suggests that people are more likely to develop NAFLD if they also have other health conditions.
The most common ones include:
Research suggests that certain genes or having your gallbladder removed may also make you more likely to get NAFLD.
Research also links some drugs — including steroids and synthetic estrogen -- to an increased risk of NAFLD.
Certain groups of people are more at risk of developing NAFLD.
Some studies have shown that NAFLD:
If left untreated, NAFLD may lead to swelling and scarring (cirrhosis) in the liver. Over time, it may even lead to liver cancer or liver failure.
NAFLD is most commonly linked to health conditions related to diet and lifestyle.
To reduce your risk of NAFLD, you can make choices that reduce your chances of developing those health conditions.
You should also reduce or eliminate alcohol, which can also cause fat to build up in the liver.
Our world-renowned liver disease experts:
Most people with NAFLD don't have symptoms in its early stages. Doctors usually discover it because of an abnormal liver function test or during testing for an unrelated health issue.
When NAFLD symptoms do occur, they may include:
If your doctor thinks you might have NAFLD, they will order or perform one or more of these tests:
For mild cases of NAFLD, the main goal of treatment is to avoid serious problems by preventing the disease from getting worse. For more serious cases of NAFLD, our goal is to restore function to the liver.
For mild cases of NAFLD, the main treatment at UPMC focuses on addressing the risk factors, like making lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle changes that can help slow the progression of NAFLD include:
We will work with you on a weight loss regimen and a set of goals to improve the health of your liver.
For moderate cases of NAFLD, your doctor might:
For severe cases of NAFLD or NASH, your doctor might:
To learn more about NAFLD, or to make an appointment at the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases, call 412-647-1170.