An Easier Way to Test Your Liver

BIDMC Contributor

AUGUST 07, 2018

Diagnostics821x350With very few symptoms, many individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) go undiagnosed.

The disease is just what it sounds like—NAFLD is the buildup of extra fat in the liver that is not caused by alcohol—and in its most serious form, it can lead to liver fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer, similar to the kind of damage that occurs with heavy alcohol use.

“Like many common health conditions, NAFLD is often linked to obesity,” says Michelle Lai, MD, director of the NAFLD program at BIDMC. “As obesity and type 2 diabetes rates continue to rise across the U.S., so does liver fibrosis and cirrhosis because of NAFLD.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-third of the U.S. adult population has NAFLD. “NAFLD is a silent disease,” says Gordon Jiang, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist focusing his research on NAFLD. “Some patients experience fatigue or discomfort in the abdomen, but most have no symptoms until the disease has progressed to the very end stage.”

NAFLD tends to develop in people who are overweight, have diabetes or high triglyceride. It is evident in every age group but especially in people in their 40s and 50s who are at high risk of heart disease because of such risk factors.

The Liver Center at BIDMC offers a non-invasive diagnostic testing for NAFLD that can quickly determine whether you have NAFLD and/or whether you are at risk for progression to cirrhosis. This test is now available in many locations in and around Boston.

NAFLD Testing at BIDMC

A team of physicians, nurses, pharmacists and nutritionists in this NAFLD clinic specialize in the early detection, diagnosis and management of patients with NAFLD. A non-invasive, quick and simple test similar to ultrasound can reveal any fibrosis and fatty deposits in the liver. BIDMC’s multidisciplinary team can work with your primary care doctor to schedule this test during your next visit, delivering test results within the same week.

BIDMC’s non-invasive NAFLD testing is available at the following locations. To schedule an appointment, contact the Liver Center at (617) 632-1070.

The Liver Center at BIDMC
110 Francis Street, Suite 8E
Boston, MA 02215

Beth Israel Deaconess Healthcare—Chestnut Hill
200 Boylston Street, Suite 4 (Medical/Surgical Specialties)
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Beth Israel Deaconess Healthcare—Chelsea
1000 Broadway, Suite B (Adult Specialties)
Chelsea, MA 02150

Beth Israel Deaconess Healthcare—Lexington
482 Bedford Street
Lexington, MA 02420

Choosing a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of NAFLD. Read more.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.