Liver Health

Updated 19 October 2018

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: when to call a doctor

Frequent visits to your doctor are recommended when you have been diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. But in some cases, you have to seek urgent medical care.

If you’ve been diagnosed with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), you’ll have to check in with your doctor regularly. During these visits, your doctor is likely to do blood tests to see if your condition has progressed. You are, unfortunately, at increased risk of liver cancer.  

It’s also important to check in with your doctor if you have any symptoms that could indicate cirrhosis. See your doctor as soon as possible if you experience:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of appetite/nausea
  • Pain in the upper-right abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swelling of the legs or ankles (oedema)
  • Fluid build-up in the abdomen (ascites)

Reviewed by Dr Mark Sonderup, B Pharm, MB ChB, FCP (SA). Senior Specialist, Division of Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital. July 2018.