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Glossary of NASH related terms

  • Cirrhosis: is a chronic disease of the liver marked by degeneration of cells, inflammation, and fibrous thickening of tissue. It is typically a result of alcoholism or hepatitis.

  • Hepatitis: is swelling and inflammation of the liver.

  • Insulin resistance: is a condition in which a person's body tissues have a lowered level of response to insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps to regulate the level of glucose (sugar) in the body.
  • Liver: is the largest internal organ and is located on the right side of the belly. The liver turns the nutrients in our diets into important substances that the body needs. It also stores energy for use throughout the day and helps remove toxic substances from the body.

  • Liver biopsy:  is the removal of a small sample of tissue from the liver for inspection by a pathologist. It is a medical test that is done to aid diagnosis of liver disease, to assess the severity of known liver disease, and to monitor the progress of treatment.

  • Liver disease:  is a type of damage to or disease of the liver, also called hepatic disease.

  • Metabolic syndrome: is a group of conditions that put you at risk for heart disease and diabetes. These conditions are:
    • High blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels
    • High levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in your blood
    • Low levels of HDL, the good cholesterol, in your blood
    • Too much fat around your waist

      Not all doctors agree on the definition or cause of metabolic syndrome. The cause might be insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone your body produces to help you turn sugar from food into energy for your body. If you are insulin resistant, too much sugar builds up in your blood, setting the stage for disease.

  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, or NAFLD:  is the build-up of fat in the liver that is NOT caused by drinking too much alcohol. People who have it do not have a history of heavy drinking. NAFLD is closely related to being overweight.

    For many people, NAFLD causes no symptoms or problems. A more serious form of the disease is called non‑alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), described below. NASH can cause liver failure. It can also cause cancer.

  • Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH): is a common, often “silent” liver disease. It resembles alcoholic liver disease, but occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol. The major feature in NASH is fat in the liver, along with inflammation and damage. Most people with NASH feel well and are not aware that they have a liver problem. Nevertheless, NASH can be severe and can lead to cirrhosis, in which the liver is permanently damaged and scarred and no longer able to work properly.

  • Steatosis: is the infiltration of liver cells with fat, associated with disturbance of the metabolism by alcoholism, malnutrition, pregnancy, or drug therapy.
  • Steatohepatitis: is a progression of steatosis (fatty liver) which is an accumulation of fat in the liver, combined with inflammation.