Alina M. Allen, M.D., Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Mayo Clinic: So the liver is a complex organ. It has a lot of functions. Patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease benefit from the Mayo care because we offer the best technologies in a timely fashion.

Kymberly D. Watt, M.D., Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Mayo Clinic: The nonalcoholic part of that is actually very important because obviously there's an alcoholic version of fatty liver disease. And a lot of people all think every liver disease is alcohol related, and it is very, very wrong.

Harmeet Malhi, M.B.B.S., Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Mayo Clinic: NAFLD stands for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. It really is an umbrella term for a continuum of diseases. And when we see additional features of inflammation and injury in the liver, we refer to that as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which is a mouthful. So just NASH.

Dr. Watt: Impact of NASH is huge actually and it is not only growing and prevalence, but I think it's also being recognized more. There's more obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome that lead to NASH.

Dr. Allen: Approximately 40% of the U.S. population is obese and fatty liver disease is a problem that comes in conjunction with this excess weight.

Dr. Malhi: How we diagnose nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Really the gold standard has been a liver biopsy. However, liver biopsy is invasive, and Mayo has really been a pioneer in the development of a technique called magnetic resonance elastography or let's call it MRE for short, which helps us quantify or measure the amount of scarring or stiffness there is in the liver.

Dr. Allen: The good news is that if the diseases caught earlier, the diseases reversible because the liver is a forgiving organ.

Dr. Watt: If you can get the fat and the inflammation out of the liver, you could potentially at least delay progression. You might be able to have regression.

Dr. Allen: We make a personalized treatment plan. The plan starts with visiting with a nutritionist to discuss about what are the best ways to change the way they eat in order to lose weight.

Dr. Watt: We're trying to think long term and we need to be aggressive in managing all the issues.


Oct. 06, 2023