Diagnosis

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can be difficult to detect and often presents no obvious symptoms. In order to accurately diagnose whether you have fatty liver disease, your healthcare provider will give you a physical exam and ask about your past health. Your physician may then recommend:

  • A blood test to see if you have high levels of liver enzymes. This may mean you have a liver problem.
  • Imaging, such as an ultrasound, CT or MRI of your liver.
  • A liver biopsy. During this test, a hollow needle is used to remove a tiny tissue sample from your liver. This tissue is then checked in a lab. This test can find signs of damage to liver tissue; it can also help determine the cause of the damage and the difference between fatty liver and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Treatment for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Treatment for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease varies for each patient. Our personalized long-term treatment plans are focused on preventing the progression or recurrence of fat buildup in your liver. Although there is no cure for NAFLD, it can be treated and in some cases reversed by reducing your insulin resistance through better nutrition, more physical activity, improved sleep and weight loss (by changes in lifestyle, medications or bariatric surgery). Metabolic syndrome is one risk factor for NAFLD and includes high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, excess weight or obesity and high fasting glucose (sugar) levels. If you have metabolic syndrome, your provider will work with you to control it in order to decrease your chance of developing liver damage. Treatment may include:

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet (Mediterranean diet)
  • Regular physical activity
  • Reducing stress
  • Controlling diabetes, high levels of cholesterol or triglyceride
  • Improving sleep quality and quantity and treating underlying sleep apnea
  • Taking prescribed medicines
  • Minimizing your alcohol intake
  • Stopping smoking

Our fatty liver program provides consolidated care in one location so that when you schedule an appointment, you can meet with your entire care team in one visit.

UChicago Medicine employee helping a patient check in

For Consultations, Referrals or Appointments

Contact Estela Villagomez at 773-702-5571 or email MetabolicLiverClinic@uchospitals.edu.

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Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

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