Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)

What is non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)?

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a condition in which excess fat in the liver cells cause inflammation and damage.  It is an advanced form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NASH is differentiated from NAFLD when inflammation and scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver becomes present. Most patients have no symptoms and are unaware that they have any liver problem. Symptoms appear mostly due to cirrhosis when the liver is extremely damaged. NASH is a progressive disease, meaning, the longer you have NASH, the harder it becomes for your liver to function normally. The stages of NASH include:
  • Steatosis, when abnormal levels of fat are found in the liver. At this stage, with proper treatment, liver damage is reversible. 
  • Steatohepatitis. When NASH becomes more severe, healthy liver tissue is replaced with fat and becomes inflamed. At this state of illness, it takes advanced care from a liver disease expert to reverse damage.
  • Cirrhosis happens when inflammation and damage to the liver becomes so severe that scar tissue begins to take over. Treatment options are limited beyond a certain point and may be difficult to save one from liver failure.
Risk factors
  • Obesity, especially with large waist size
  • Poor diet or a diet high in saturated fats
  • High levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood
After a patient’s physical exam and a review of their medical history, blood tests are done to determine how the liver is functioning. Imaging tools, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasounds, may also be used to help detect inflammation or cirrhosis. A liver biopsy may also be conducted to differentiated NASH from NAFLD.
Currently, there is no specific treatment for NASH. Doctors recommend patients with NASH to lose weight, follow a healthy diet, increase their exercise activity, avoid alcohol, and avoid unnecessary medication.
  • About 20% of people with NAFLD have NASH.
  • Affects about 2% to 5% of people in the United States.
  • As many as 25% of people with NASH may have cirrhosis.
  • NASH is diagnosed more often in women than men.
NASH about picture

  • "Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease & NASH." National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Nov. 2016. Web. 07 June 2017.
  • "Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)." Stanford Health Care (SHC) - Stanford Medical Center. Stanford Health Care, 13 July 2016. Web. 07 June 2017.
  • "Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)." Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) | Cedars-Sinai. Cedars-Sinai, n.d. Web. 07 June 2017.
  • "Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)." MedStar Washington Hospital Center. MEDSTAR HEALTH, n.d. Web. 07 June 2017.
  • Kristine. "Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)." PAMF - California Health Care | Health Education. Palo Alto Medical Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 June 2017.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition characterized by too much fat built up and stored in liver cells. People who do not drink a lot and have fatty livers are considered to have NAFLD. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a condition in which excess fat in the liver cells cause inflammation and damage. It is an advanced form of NAFLD. NASH is differentiated from NAFLD when inflammation and scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver become present.


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