Fatty Liver Disease (Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis): Symptoms
A common liver disease, often without symptoms, that resembles alcoholic liver disease but occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol. The major characteristic of NASH is fat in the liver, along with inflammation and damage. NASH can be a complication of insulin resistance and diabetes.
About Fatty Liver Disease Symptoms
NASH is usually a silent disease with few or no symptoms. Patients generally feel well in the early stages and only begin to have symptoms—such as fatigue, weight loss, and weakness—once the disease is more advanced or cirrhosis develops.
The progression of NASH can take years, even decades. The process can stop and, in some cases, reverse on its own without specific therapy. Or NASH can slowly worsen, causing scarring or “fibrosis” to appear and accumulate in the liver.
As fibrosis worsens, cirrhosis develops; the liver becomes seriously scarred, hardened, and unable to function normally. Not every person with NASH develops cirrhosis, but once serious scarring or cirrhosis is present, few treatments can halt the progression.
A person with cirrhosis experiences fluid retention, muscle wasting, bleeding from the intestines, and liver failure. Liver transplantation is the only treatment for advanced cirrhosis with liver failure, and transplantation is increasingly performed in people with NASH.
NASH ranks as one of the major causes of cirrhosis in America, behind hepatitis C and alcoholic liver disease. NIH – National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases