Non alcoholic fatty liver disease is common and, for most people, causes no signs and symptoms and no complications. In some people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the fat that accumulates can cause inflammation and scarring in the liver. This more serious form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is sometimes called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis(NASH). Non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis is more common in the presence of diabetes, obesity, older age and increased inflammation, and is more likely to progress to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis may be complicated by hepatocellular carcinoma or liver failure. Hepatocellular carcinoma has also been described in NASH without cirrhosis.
Common findings are elevated liver enzymes and a liver ultrasound showing steatosis. An ultrasound may also be used to exclude gallstone problems (cholelithiasis). A liver biopsy (tissue examination) is the only test widely accepted as definitively distinguishing NASH from other forms of liver disease and can be used to assess the severity of the inflammation and resultant fibrosis. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease usually causes no signs and symptoms. When it does, they may include:
•Pain in the upper right abdomen