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Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, is caused by too much fat in your liver and is not the result of excessive alcohol consumption.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease includes two conditions, simple fatty liver and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
NAFLD is one of the most common types of liver disease in the U.S. Between 30 and 40% of adults in the U.S. have NAFLD, and about 3 to 12% of adults have NASH.
Patients with NAFLD usually have few or no symptoms. Symptoms can include tiredness or discomfort in the upper right side of your abdomen.
You may have one or more risk factors that include:
With few symptoms, it is not easy to diagnose nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. It is sometimes diagnosed from abnormal liver test results for another condition.
At the University of Maryland Medical Center, liver specialists, or hepatologists, diagnose NAFLD by reviewing your medical and family history, doing a physical exam, and diagnostic tests that may include blood tests, imaging and a liver biopsy.
There are currently no approved medications to treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, although clinical trials are underway to test novel agents. Losing weight can help reduce liver inflammation and fat in your liver. Gradually losing at least up to 10% of your body weight, over more than a year, can produce best results. Losing weight too fast may make NAFLD worse. We can treat complications of NAFLD, which include cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Our registered dietitians can help you make diet and lifestyle changes to lose weight safely and permanently.
You may also benefit from physical therapy. Our physical therapists can help you devise an exercise program that, along with your diet, can help you maintain or gain strength and flexibility as you lose weight. Clinical trials are available for eligible individuals.
To make an appointment with one of our liver disease specialists, call 410-328-1358.