About Liver Disease(s)

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a very common disorder and refers to a group of conditions where there is accumulation of excess fat in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol. The most common form of NAFLD is a non-serious condition called fatty liver. In fatty liver, fat accumulates in the liver cells. Although having fat in the liver is not normal, by itself it probably does not damage the liver. A small group of people with NAFLD may have a more serious condition named non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In NASH, fat accumulation is associated with liver cell inflammation and different degrees of scarring. NASH is a potentially serious condition that may lead to severe liver scarring and cirrhosis. Cirrhosis occurs when the liver sustains substantial damage, and the liver cells are gradually replaced by scar tissue (see figure), which results in the inability of the liver to work properly.

Alcoholic Liver Disease

Alcoholic liver disease is long-term damage to the liver from excessive alcohol use, leading to loss of liver function. The more alcohol consumed on a regular basis, and the longer the alcohol use lasts, the greater your risk of developing alcoholic liver disease. Alcohol can damage the liver, leading to inflammation (alcoholic hepatitis) and swelling of the liver. Over time, this inflammation and damage progress to form scar tissue, resulting in cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis of the liver is the end stage of alcoholic liver disease. Symptoms of alcoholic liver disease include abdominal pain, tenderness, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), fatigue, and nausea. After cirrhosis has developed, fluid buildup (edema) in the legs and fluid collection in the abdomen (ascites) are common. Bleeding problems may also occur. Malnutrition is a common complication. Alcoholic liver disease is a serious condition that will continue to get worse if alcohol consumption is not discontinued, along with other essential treatment. Late-stage symptoms can also include confusion and mental status changes, excitability, impaired memory, and difficulty with movement.

The physicians at Digestive Healthcare of Georgia are closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In the interest of everyone’s health and safety we ask all patients and their guests who have a fever (100° or above), symptoms of a respiratory infection, or who may have traveled to a restricted country or may have been exposed to a person with known COVID-19, the flu or any other communicable disease to reschedule their appointments or procedures. You will not be charged for canceling/rescheduling your appointment. We will be following CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health’s recommendations for screening and management of patients. If you are at all concerned you may have a serious infectious disease, your best course of action is to seek care at your primary care physician’s office or local hospital’s emergency department.

We have implemented a telemedicine visit for our patients who are unable to be in the office for their appointment. Please call our office to schedule a telemedicine visit with your provider.