David Tedrow started gaining weight in his mid-30s and tried “every diet in the known world” to lose it. He discovered he had liver damage after undergoing weight loss surgery in 2008.
Tedrow was diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition that affects about 30 percent of the population explained Manal Abdelmalek, MD, a liver disease specialist at Duke. It’s becoming more common as obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome become more prevalent.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a spectrum of liver disease that occurs in patients who don't drink significant amounts of alcohol. It starts with the presence of fat in the liver and can progress to chronic inflammation, fibrosis (scarring), and ultimately cirrhosis with potentially life-threatening complications in a minority of people, Abdelmalek explained. “There are no hallmark signs or symptoms. Many patients don’t even know they have fatty inflammation of the liver," she said.