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Pediatric Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)

Pediatric Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)

Dallas

214-456-8000
Fax: 214-456-1206
Suite F4500

Plano

469-303-2400
Fax: 469-303-2407
Suite P4400

Park Cities

469-488-7000
Fax: 469-488-7001
Suite 106

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What is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in children the United States, affecting millions. It is a condition in which fat builds up in the liver, and – if untreated – it can lead to serious liver problems like cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and cancer during adulthood.

Risk

  • Pediatric NAFLD is common in the United States, affecting 10% of children.
  • Obese children are at the greatest risk for developing fatty liver disease, but having type-2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, or high cholesterol also increase a child’s risk.
  • The disease has been found in adolescents, as well as young children. In some cases, it runs in families.

What is non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)?

Over time, the extra fat can cause inflammation and scarring of the liver. When that happens, the disease becomes known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).  The exact cause of NAFLD and NASH is unknown.

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)?

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss

How is Pediatric Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) diagnosed?

There are several tests to diagnose NAFLD and NASH in children. A doctor will go over your child's medical history and perform a physical exam. Doctors usually discover fatty liver disease through abnormal results in routine blood tests or by discovering an enlarged liver during routine examination. Your healthcare provider may also perform one or more of the following tests:

Not every child needs all these tests. Your physician will discuss with you exactly what the next steps are. 

How is Pediatric Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) treated?

The progression of your child's NAFLD or NASH will determine the treatment. Your healthcare provider may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

Pediatric Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) Doctors and Providers