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Metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD)

Metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD) — formerly known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease — is the buildup of fat in the liver. It is not caused by drinking too much alcohol, but instead is more closely related to changes in metabolic health. Genetics may also be a factor. The excess fat prevents the liver from properly removing toxins from your blood and in some cases can lead to inflammation and liver damage.

Why choose UF Health Jacksonville?

At UF Health Gastroenterology in Jacksonville, our board-certified specialists in gastroenterology are regional leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of liver disease and offer comprehensive care to provide you with the best possible outcomes. They also collaborate with other hospital specialists, such as nutritionists, weight loss experts and physical therapists to help you create a healthy lifestyle.

MASLD: What you need to know

  • Metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease, or MASLD, is the most common form of liver disease in the U.S., affecting about 25% of the population. Though the exact cause is unknown, conditions that seem to be related include insulin resistance, diabetes, excess belly fat and obesity.
  • Most people with MASLD experience no symptoms and are unaware of the condition.
  • This disease is most often diagnosed by blood tests. Our specialists may also use imaging or liver biopsy.
  • For some people, MASLD can progress in severity to metabolic dysfunction associated steatohepatitis, or MASH. As this disease worsens, it may present symptoms, such as weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, jaundice, fluid buildup and swelling in the legs and abdomen, or mental confusion.

MASLD: Treatments

  • If your diagnosis is MASLD with no other health issues, our physicians may suggest lifestyle changes to help control or reduce the fat in the liver and prevent more serious problems. These recommendations may include weight loss, healthy eating, exercise and reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • If your liver disease has progressed to MASH, your treatment would also include dietary changes, losing weight and adding more exercise. In addition, you would be advised to stop drinking alcohol and take some prescribed medications to reduce cholesterol and better control diabetes.
  • Novel treatments including clinical trials with new medications may also be considered. The main goal for treatment would be to prevent MASH from becoming cirrhosis, which can permanently damage the liver, or lead to liver cancer.

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