Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Dr Amer Al-Joudeh answers your FAQs....
Dr Amer Al-Joudeh, Consultant Hepatologist
Claremont Clinics: Tuesday evenings
What is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?
Non alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by excess fat stored in the liver and is usually linked with being overweight.
Is NAFLD serious?
In the majority of people, NAFLD is mild and usually harmless. However, in a minority of patients, the condition can develop to a severe condition which is known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is a significant medical condition that needs specialist care.
How common is NAFLD?
It is very common and the mildest form of the disease is estimated to occur in 30% of our population. However, the severe form of the disease (cirrhosis) is estimated to affect 1% of the population in England.
Is it caused by drinking alcohol?
No, but if you have NAFLD, you are advised to reduce or stop drinking alcohol as it can increase damage to the liver.
People at risk of having NAFLD :
Should I look for any symptoms?
In early stages of NAFLD, you don't normally experience symptoms but some people may experience a constant ache in right upper area of abdomen and tiredness. In the late stages (cirrhosis), patients may notice a yellowing of the eye and fluid retention in feet and abdomen.
How can I find out if I have NAFLD?
If you have one or more of the risk factors or you are experiencing discomfort in right upper area of the abdomen, it is advisable to have a liver blood test. If the test is abnormal, see your GP who will refer you to a specialist (if needed).
How can NAFLD be diagnosed?
It is a diagnosis of exclusion which means the diagnosis can be reached, in the presence of typical risk factors (diabetes, high blood pressure, high levels of fat in the blood or being overweight), with abnormal liver blood tests
in the absence of other causes for liver disease. Patients need a group of blood tests to exclude other causes of liver disease, an ultrasound of the abdomen and occasionally other tests to confirm the diagnosis.
What are the treatments of NAFLD?
NAFLD in the early stages is fully treated by losing weight. Stopping smoking is helpful, controlling high blood pressure and diabetes and reducing high fat in the blood would help preventing the condition from deteriorating. If you have advanced NAFLD, regular appointments and tests are advisable.
For a comprehensive assessment, Dr Al-Joudeh will be happy to see you at Claremont.
A private consultation with Dr Al-Joudeh costs £200 if you don't have health insurance. For more information or to book an appointment, just call our Private Patient Team on 0114 263 2114. You will need a referral letter from your GP or you can see one of our Private GPs quickly for this if you prefer.
Copyright Amer Al-Joudeh, 2017.