Understanding Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

In non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), extra fat accumulates in the liver. Heavy drinking is not the cause of this fat gain. Alcohol-associated liver disease is a disorder that develops when heavy alcohol consumption leads to a buildup of fat in the liver.

Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis (NASH) and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver (NAFL) are two kinds of NAFLD (NASH). Most people either get either form of NAFLD or the other, while occasionally those with one form are later found to have the other type.

Early Signs of NAFLD

Early warning symptoms for NAFLD have been compiled here to help you spot them before they become severe.

NAFLD frequently does not exhibit any visible symptoms or indicators. The most typical signs are:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Upper right abdominal pain (usually mild)

If the condition worsens, NAFLD may result in liver cirrhosis, resulting in one or more of the symptoms listed below:

  1. Rapidly bleeding
  2. Easily bruising
  3. Skin irritation
  4. Skin and eye discolouration that is yellow (jaundice)
  5. Fluid buildup inside your abdomen
  6. Reduced appetite
  7. Nausea
  8. Your legs are swollen
  9. Confusion
  10. Drowsiness
  11. Unsteady speech
  12. Blood tubes on your skin that resemble spiders.

Stages of NAFLD

The primary NAFLD phases are:

  • Simple fatty liver (steatosis)

It is an accumulation of fat in the liver cells that is largely benign and is only sometimes detected after tests performed for another cause.

  • Fibrosis

It is a condition in which the liver and adjacent blood arteries develop scar tissue as a result of ongoing inflammation but the liver can continue to function normally.

  • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) 

NASH is a more severe form of NAFLD in which the liver has become inflamed. However, the liver is still capable of normal functioning despite the liver’s surrounding scar tissue from persistent inflammation.

  • Cirrhosis

The liver keeps shrinking and becomes lumpy and scarred in cirrhosis, the most severe stage, which develops after years of inflammation. This damage is irreversible and can result in liver failure (when your liver stops functioning normally) and liver cancer.


NAFLD requires imaging or a liver biopsy to demonstrate hepatic steatosis, as well as the clinical exclusion of heavy alcohol consumption. Ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging can all establish the existence of hepatic steatosis with a high degree of certainty. Ultrasonography is relatively inexpensive and widely available, although it is less sensitive in detecting mild steatosis or in obese patients. As a result, negative ultrasonography does not rule out NAFLD. A liver biopsy is the pinnacle of diagnosis since it is the only test that can differentiate between simple steatosis and NASH and evaluate the degree of fibrosis.

Treatment and Cure 

  • Medication 

The symptoms of NAFLD can be managed with a variety of medications, but there is presently no medication that can treat the illness.

  • Liver transplantation

If you develop serious liver cirrhosis and your liver ceases to function correctly, you may be placed on a standby list for a liver transplant. Instead, transplantation using a portion of the liver extracted from a donor organ may be possible.

Since the liver has the ability to regenerate, both the transplanted piece and the surviving portion of the donor’s liver can recover to normal size.

Chennai Liver Foundation is one of the liver transplant hospitals in Chennai that offers liver cirrhosis treatment. Visit the website to check out the best liver transplant surgeon in Chennai. 

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