Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis or NASH
Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH is a fast growing, often "silent" liver disease. In many aspects similar to alcoholic liver disease, it occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol.Iin NASH, fat in the liver is the major feature, along with inflammation and damage. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis can be severe and can lead to cirrhosis. It is not absolutely clear how many people have NASH because it causes no symptoms. However, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is diagnosed in about 7 to 9 percent of people in the United States who have a liver biopsy. Most people with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis are between the ages of 40 and 60 years, although the condition can also occur in children over the age of 10 years. Other than in alcoholic liver disease, NASH is seen more often in women than in men.
NAFLD - Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis affects 2 to 5 percent of Americans. An additional 10 to 20 percent of Americans have fatty liver, but no inflammation or liver damage. This problem is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). If a liver biopsy is performed in this case, it will show that some people have NASH while others.
Risk Factors for NASH
The factors to become affected by non-alcoholic steatohepatitis are:
- Obesity - More than 70 percent of people with NASH are obese.
- Diabetes - Up to 75 percent of people with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis have type 2 diabetes.
- Hyperlipidemia - About 20 to 80 percent of people with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis have hyperlipidemia.
- Insulin resistance - Insulin resistance refers to a state in which the body does not respond adequately to insulin. Insulin resistance often occurs in people with hyperlipidemia who are obese; this group of symptoms is known as the metabolic syndrome and is frequently seen in people with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.
- Abdominal surgery - Several types of abdominal operations have been linked to NASH. These include surgical removal of large portions of the small intestine, gastric bypass surgery, surgery of the gall bladder and pancreas, and surgery used to bypass parts of the small intestine.
- Drugs and toxins - Several drugs used to treat medical conditions have been linked to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Pesticides that are toxic to cells have also been linked to NASH.
- Other conditions - Certain other medical conditions have also been linked to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. These conditions include Wilson's disease (a hereditary condition that affects copper levels), Weber-Christian disease, abetalipoproteinemia (a rare congenital disorder that affects the ability to digest fat), and diverticula (outpouchings) of the small intestine.
Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis in Children
NASH can occur in children. Both Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and NAFLD are becoming more common, possibly because of the greater number children with obesity. In the past 10 years, the rate of obesity has doubled in adults and tripled in children.
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