Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common types of liver disease in both adults and adolescents, and is also one of the leading causes of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) (a form of primary liver cancer). NAFLD is a condition in which excess fat accumulates in the liver. While a healthy liver contains a small amount of fat (up to 5% percent), a higher concentration can lead to complications, including liver inflammation, liver cell injury, and eventually the development of liver cirrhosis. Fatty liver disease also can be linked to other serious health concerns such as cardiovascular disease.

Excess fat can build up in the liver if the body creates too much fat or cannot break it down quickly enough. The main risk factors for NAFLD include obesity, type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia (excess fat in the blood). It can also be genetic, or inherited from a parent. When NAFLD is detected and treated early, it is possible to significantly reduce the risk of long-term complications.

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the most severe form of NAFLD and occurs when the excess fat in the liver is accompanied by liver inflammation and scarring over time. In more severe cases this condition can lead to end stage liver disease or HCC.

To learn more about nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, its role in the development of HCC, and the treatment options that we offer, contact the Texas Liver Tumor Center, or Texas Liver Institute.

While there is no therapy for this condition, there are many promising treatments in the research arena.