Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis NASH Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

One of the commonest diseases affecting the liver is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It involves the accumulation of fats within liver cells. This disease takes years or decades to advance from a mild, self-limited condition to liver failure and cirrhosis. One of the stages that it passes is called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. The term “hepatitis” points towards the fact that the accumulation of fat in the liver causes inflammation. This inflammation damages liver cells, and when such destruction exceeds the liver ability to heal itself, liver fibrosis and cirrhosis occurs.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can be reversible until before steatohepatitis. After that, damage becomes permanent, and yet stopping the disease here can help prevent liver failure. It is, therefore, essential to detect steatohepatitis as soon as possible and to manage it accordingly.

What causes nonalcoholic steatohepatitis?

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is one of the stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The same causes of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis are the same as those of fatty liver disease and include:

  • Excessive fat and carbohydrate intake in diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Some hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Hereditary conditions such as familial hypercholesterolemia

Those aren’t real “causes” for fatty liver disease, but rather risk factors for the disease. Several other factors including genetics and age play a minor role in determining the onset of the disease and its severity. A diseased liver by viral hepatitis is more liable to be damaged by fatty liver disease than a healthy one.

Written by Martin Davis