Fatty liver disease
Posted in insulin resistance

Fatty liver disease

Fatty liver disease is also called non-alcoholic steatohepatosis (NASH). In this article, let us review what this condition is and what can be done to deal with it.



  • What is fatty liver or NASH?
  • What causes fatty liver?
  • What are signs and symptoms of NASH?
  • What are the risk factors for NASH?
  • How common is fatty liver disease?
  • How do you diagnose fatty liver?
  • How do you prevent fatty liver disease?
  • What treatment options are available for fatty liver?

What is fatty liver or NASH / NAFLD?

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which fat builds up in your liver. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a type of NAFLD. If you have NASH, you have inflammation and liver cell damage, along with fat in your liver.

What are the signs and symptoms of NASH?

Usually, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) cause few or no symptoms. Certain health conditions—including obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes—make you more likely to develop NAFLD and NASH.

What causes fatty liver or NASH?

The true underlying process that eventually leads to fatty liver is called insulin resistance.

How do I know if I am insulin resistance that can lead to fatty liver?

You can use the W8MD’s insulin resistance calculator tool to help determine if you may be at risk for insulin resistance and by extension, fatty liver or NASH. 

What other conditions are related to NASH?

Since insulin resistance, the root cause of NASH or fatty liver, also causes many other things including weight gain, the following conditions are associated with NASH.

  • Prediabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • High cholesterol.
  • High triglycerides
  • High blood pressure
  • PCOS

Other risk factors may include:

  • Rapid weight loss and poor diet
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Bowel disease
  • Certain medicines, such as calcium channel blockers and some cancer drugs
  • NAFLD also occurs in people who have no known risk factors.

How do you diagnosis of NASH or fatty liver?

NASH is diagnosed with a combination of medical history, a physical exam, and tests to diagnose nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

What is the difference between NAFLD and NASH?

NAFLD is when you have no symptoms but have findings of fat accumulation in your liver. NASH is when you start having symptoms.

Other tests may include blood tests, imaging tests, and sometimes liver biopsy.

How common is NAFLD and NASH?

NAFLD is one of the most common causes of liver disease in the United States. Most people with NAFLD have simple fatty liver. Only a small number of people with NAFLD have NASH. Experts estimate that about 20 percent of people with NAFLD have NASH.

Between 30 and 40 percent of adults in the United States have NAFLD. About 3 to 12 percent of adults in the United States have NASH.

Overweight and obesity

Overweight and obesity

How do you treat NASH or fatty liver disease?

Changing underlying process leading to NASH or fatty liver called insulin resistance is key to the treatment of NASH.

W8MD’s weight loss program with it’s emphasis on treating insulin resistance as opposed to just weight loss is the ideal way to treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). W8MD’s weight loss program can reduce fat in the liver, inflammation, and fibrosis.

Can you have NASH or fatty liver and have no symptoms from it?

Yes. People with NAFLD often have no symptoms.

When symptoms do occur, what are the most common symptoms?

  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the upper right abdomen

In people with NASH who have liver damage (cirrhosis), what symptoms are seen?

  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Itching
  • Fluid buildup and swelling in the legs and abdomen
  • Mental confusion
  • GI bleeding
  • Exams and Tests

Since NAFLD does not have symptoms, it is often found during routine blood tests that are used to see how well the liver is working. 

W8MD Team

W8MD Team

You may have the following tests to measure liver function:

  • Complete blood count
  • Prothrombin time
  • Blood albumin level
  • Ultrasound is often used to confirm a diagnosis of NAFLD
  • MRI and CT scan may also be needed
  • A liver biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of NASH, the more severe form of NAFLD.

What is the prognosis for NASH, NAFLD or fatty liver disease?

Many people with NAFLD have no health problems and do not go on to develop NASH. Losing weight and making healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent more serious problems.

It is unclear why some people develop NASH. NASH can lead to cirrhosis.

How do you prevent NASH?

To help prevent NAFLD:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit alcohol consumption

How can W8MD help with fatty liver or NASH?

  • Pronounced WeightMD, our state of the art W8MD physician medical weight loss, sleep, holistic and aesthetic medicine programs can help you not only to lose weight, and sleep better but also look your best!
  • Since its inception in 2011, W8MD’s insurance physician weight loss program has successfully helped thousands of patients.
  • Weight loss program is unique in many ways with a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to weight loss. The center’s team of practitioners are among the most qualified, dedicated and hospitable professionals in the industry.
Prab R. Tumpati, MD. Dr. Tumpati is the founder and medical director of W8MD Weight Loss, Sleep and MedSpa Centers. Dr Tumpati is board certified physician practicing sleep medicine, obesity medicine, aesthetic medicine and internal medicine. Dr. Tumpati’s passion is to educate patients and get to the root of the problem rather than "band aid medicine". As a physician with fellowship training in Obesity Medicine, Dr. Tumpati has a unique approach to wellness, weight loss, and medical aesthetics with a focus on prevention rather than cure. Dr. Tumpati takes pride in helping patients come of many chronic life style medications such as blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes medications by helping them lose weight and change their life style. Dr Tumpati believes in evidence based medicine rather than fad diets that do not work and works with each patient taking their unique situation in to consideration that causes them to gain weight so he can find a customized solution. Serving as the medical director of the W8MD's New York City, Cherry Hill NJ and greater Philadelphia offices, Dr Tumpati is the leading weight loss, sleep and aesthetic medicine physician in the tristate areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.


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