Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which fat builds up in the liver, which can cause damage and scarring and over time can lead to cirrhosis of the liver (advanced scarring). It is similar to the effects on the liver often seen in people who drink a lot of alcohol. It is most common among those who are overweight or have conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Most people don’t have symptoms until the disease progresses to cirrhosis. NAFLD is the most common liver disorder worldwide and affects about 25% of the world’s population. Treatments include exercise, losing weight, and dietary changes.
UAB Medicine is the only medical center in Alabama with a clinic dedicated to treating patients with NAFLD. The clinic works closely with UAB Weight Loss Medicine, as losing weight often can reverse this condition if done in the early stages. Clinic patients undergo a consultation with a UAB registered dietitian to help implement lifestyle and dietary changes. Patients also can learn more about bariatric surgery for weight loss, though not all patients are eligible for this procedure.
UAB Medicine is a worldwide leader in treating and managing liver disorders and the only medical center in Alabama with board-certified transplant hepatologists. These specialists treat a wide variety of liver diseases including hepatitis C, hepatitis B, alcoholic liver disease, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, autoimmune hepatitis, alcohol- and non-alcohol-associated fatty liver disease, hemochromatosis, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, and liver disease in pregnancy. They also have extensive experience treating cirrhosis and its complications, such as esophageal and gastric varices, ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, and hepatocellular carcinoma, and they also have experience in preparing approved patients for a liver transplant.
In addition to providing excellent care, UAB participates in many clinical research trials that offer the latest in drug therapy and treatment for a variety of liver disorders. The UAB NAFLD Clinic is located within UAB’s Weight Loss Medicine Clinic at UAB Highlands Hospital with convenient access to laboratory testing and radiology services. UAB Hepatology provides a complete model of care that optimizes the patient experience and offers the absolute latest in testing, technology, and treatment.
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