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Fatty Liver Treatment Options

Fatty liver disease is called Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) refers to accumulation of fat in the liver and may not cause any liver damage by itself. NAFLD is most commonly caused by obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and an unhealthy diet.

A more serious form of NAFLD called Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis or NASH involves inflammation and liver cell damage in addition to fat accumulation. If left untreated, NASH can progress to liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure and liver transplantation.

NAFLD increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and type 2 diabetes promotes the progression of fatty liver disease to NASH. Patients with type 2 diabetes are at significant risk for developing end-stage liver disease. There is currently no FDA approved drug to treat NASH. Lifestyle intervention remains the only therapy.

Lifestyle changes play a crucial role in managing NAFLD and NASH. These include:

  • Weight loss: Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight through a combination of diet and exercise is paramount. Weight loss has been shown to reduce liver fat, inflammation, and fibrosis in NASH patients.
  • Healthy diet: Following a balanced, low-fat, and low-sugar diet can help improve NASH. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is recommended. Avoiding processed foods, sugary beverages, and saturated fats is important.
  • Regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity such as aerobic exercises and strength training can improve insulin sensitivity, promote weight loss, and reduce liver fat and inflammation. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week, as recommended by guidelines.
  • Alcohol moderation or abstinence: It’s crucial to limit or completely avoid alcohol consumption, as it can exacerbate liver damage in individuals with NASH.

While there are no specific FDA-approved medications for NASH, some medications may be used off-label or in clinical trials to target specific aspects of the disease.  Speak to your RGA gastroenterologist about possible medication options that are safe for you.

If you have conditions such as obesity, diabetes, dyslipidemia, or metabolic syndrome, managing these conditions is crucial to improve liver health and slow down the progression of NASH.

Regular check-ups with a healthcare professional are essential to monitor liver function, assess disease progression, and make adjustments to your treatment plan.

Rockford Gastroenterology Associates is your partner in health. Our goal is to help you achieve success in treating fatty liver disease. We are experienced in managing NAFLD and NASH for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan based on your specific situation.

Contact us to schedule a consultation to learn more about fatty liver disease and to diagnose and monitor your liver health.

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