Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in children in the United States and affects about 10% of kids ages 2-19 each year. At Kids and Tummies in Gulfport, Mississippi, the board-certified pediatric gastroenterologists can diagnose fatty liver disease and related nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The team focuses on individualized care plans and supports lifestyle changes to treat childhood obesity and prevent permanent liver damage. To schedule a diagnostic evaluation for fatty liver disease and NASH, call the Kids and Tummies office nearest you or book an appointment online today.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition where deposits of fat build up in the liver. As the result of fatty liver disease, children can also develop nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a condition that describes liver inflammation (hepatitis) and liver cell damage that occurs in addition to the buildup of fat.
Fatty liver disease and NASH are most likely to develop in children who are overweight or obese. Children with underlying health issues are also at increased risk, including those with:
NASH tends to be more common in children who have both fatty liver disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Fatty liver disease and NASH generally cause no symptoms, even when the conditions worsen to cirrhosis (permanent liver damage).
In fact, by the time children show symptoms of liver dysfunction, the damage is usually permanent and irreversible. Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure, which may necessitate a liver transplant.
Common signs of liver damage include upper abdominal pain and persistent fatigue. To confirm or rule out these symptoms related to fatty liver disease, the medical team at Kids and Tummies offers comprehensive physical exams, blood tests, and diagnostic imaging technology in the office.
Because obesity is one of the primary causes of both fatty liver disease and NASH, weight loss is an important strategy in treating fatty liver disease and NASH.
By helping your child lose weight through dietary changes and increased physical activity, you can reduce the fat buildup in their liver. Weight loss can also help decrease persistent inflammation and prevent scar tissue from developing.
If your child already has liver damage, they might need medications or surgery to prevent it from worsening.
Your Kids and Tummies doctor works closely with you and your child to prevent additional weight issues and ensure your child is eating right, exercising regularly, and properly managing underlying health issues, such as Type 2 diabetes.
Learn more about treatment options for liver disease and NASH by calling the Kids and Tummies office nearest you or by booking an appointment online today.