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What causes fatty liver disease?

What causes fatty liver disease?

Fatty liver disease is the most common form of chronic liver disease in the United States, with up to one in four Americans affected by it. Groups that are at high risk for fatty liver disease include individuals with conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

If left untreated, it may progress into nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an aggressive form of fatty liver disease marked by liver inflammation that may progress to advanced scarring (cirrhosis) and liver failure. There are currently no effective treatments for NAFLD/NASH approved by the FDA. However, there are simple and quick ways of testing to see if a person has liver problems, such as a lab test and non-invasive liver ultrasound.

Let’s examine more closely…

Did you know that among individuals with type 2 diabetes, the prevalence of fatty liver disease is over 60% in the U.S?

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common form of chronic liver disease in the United States affecting about one-quarter of the population.

A doctor using a model of a liver during a discussion with a patient

In the United States, it is estimated that 60% of people with type 2 diabetes have fatty liver disease. Also, people of Hispanic or Asian backgrounds may have a genetic predisposition that makes them more vulnerable for fatty liver disease.

Fatty liver is caused by an excessive storage of fat in the liver. In some individuals, the fat becomes toxic and, if left untreated, can lead to a more serious condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH. Prolonged inflammation or NASH can cause scarring of the organ and lead to liver failure, cirrhosis, or cancer.

Although there are currently no FDA-approved medications to treat fatty liver disease and NASH, there are medications and new therapies currently in clinical trials.

There are simple and quick ways of testing to see if a person has liver problems, such as a lab test and non-invasive liver ultrasound.

We encourage you to speak with your doctor to learn more! Our highly trained healthcare team is also available to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Conclusion

NAFLD is more common in people who have certain conditions, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Among individuals with type 2 diabetes, the prevalence of NAFLD is over 60% in the U.S. Some diseases and conditions can increase your risk of NAFLD and NASH, including: obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertriglyceridemia (high triglycerides), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), and hypertension (high blood pressure).

Interested in screening for fatty liver disease?

  • Discuss your eligibility for a fatty liver disease research study with our highly trained team. Contact us here.
  • Schedule a pre-screening visit at ProSciento which will involve a simple, non-invasive ultrasound imaging procedure of your liver (FibroScan) to determine if you may be at risk for fatty liver disease.
  • Discuss and consider opportunities to participate in a clinical trial to help us find effective treatments for NAFLD/NASH.