Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) in San Antonio, TX

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There are two different categories of disease when it comes to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The first disease consists of excess fat in the liver that causes no real symptoms and has no coexisting inflammation. Often, this disease is found when additional tests are being performed. If this disease is having an impact on your health, our gastrointestinal providers can go over the process you may want to take to protect your liver from further damage. This particular type of NAFLD is also usually considered non-cancerous; however, it does have the potential to progress to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, commonly known as NASH.

NASH is more serious than NAFLD. NASH is also defined as a buildup of fat in the liver that is accompanied by inflammation. NASH is typically found in patients who are overweight, diabetic, have high blood sugar, or have high cholesterol. Without proper care, NASH can harm liver function and lead to other health complications.

NASH is often diagnosed by the gastroenterologists at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates or hepatologists who partner with other medical specialists to give you comprehensive care. For more information about the NASH treatment options in San Antonio, TX, get in touch with us today.

Many individuals who have non-alcoholic steatohepatitis manage day-to-day without experiencing symptoms. NASH may, every now and then, result in scarring of the liver, which is called cirrhosis. If symptoms of NASH do occur, they might involve:

  • Aching in the upper right portion of the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chronic fatigue

If you were diagnosed with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and develop difficulty breathing, leg swelling, or you are unusually tired, contact your doctor immediately. Our specialists at a San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates location near you can help.

The precise cause of NASH is unknown. While it may affect younger people, the condition is most often seen in adults. Additional risk factors for NASH include:

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Diagnosed high blood pressure
  • Post-menopause
  • Adult-onset diabetes (type 2 diabetes)
  • Hispanic or Asian descent (however, it can affect anyone)
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol

Without treatment, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis might lead to additional health issues, including cirrhosis, liver cancer, and ultimately, liver failure. If it is diagnosed, taking control of your weight, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol levels can help not just your liver, but your entire body.

After you've been diagnosed with NASH, you will need to regularly visit your San Antonio, TX gastroenterologist or hepatologist to monitor your liver. Treatments for NASH might include a combination of eating a healthy diet, limiting sugar and sodium, and getting regular exercise. We will also need to address any previous conditions known for increasing the risk of NASH.

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What are the main differences between NASH and NAFLD?

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are forms of fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease involves fat accumulation in the liver, but with this variation, damage has not occurred. NASH is a variation of NAFLD that is also characterized by the buildup of fat in the liver. However, in this case, inflammation, damage, and even scarring result.

How might you recognize the signs of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis if there are no symptoms?

Even though there may be no observable symptoms of NASH, you might notice extreme exhaustion or pain around the liver (in the upper right side of the abdomen). In general, the initial indication of liver disease, such as NASH, is when scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) occurs. There are certain symptoms of cirrhosis you can look out for, such as:

  • Itching
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
If left untreated, what health complications might occur with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis?

In the absence of care, NASH might result in fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. Liver fibrosis occurs when inflammation and scarring damage the liver. The scar tissue can overcome healthy tissue (cirrhosis), which can cause liver function to diminish or stop altogether. In the absence of care, these conditions can result in liver failure and cancer.

Is it possible to reverse the damage caused by non-alcoholic steatohepatitis?

Those who are experiencing the initial stages of NASH and have not endured extensive liver damage may be able to reverse the effects by adopting lifestyle modifications. These might include healthy eating, exercise, and weight loss. However, if long-term or more severe damage is observed, the effects of NASH may be beyond repair. Our San Antonio, TX gastroenterology providers can provide more in-depth details and information surrounding this disease.

Finding the medical attention you require to maintain your liver health and reduce the effects of NASH could boost your quality of life. At San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates, our GI providers are dedicated to placing your health and wellness first, and our team takes a patient-centered approach to your care. If you have been diagnosed with this condition or are in need of a provider who offers treatment for NASH in San Antonio, TX, please contact one of our locations to request an appointment with a gastroenterologist.

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