Dr. John Chovan, PhD., DNP, RN, CNP, CNS
Liver Disease, Chronic, Nursing Care, NAFLD, Nonalcoholic
Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common, chronic disease process that has historically affected adults but is becoming more common among children and adolescents due to rising rates of childhood obesity. While the primary risk factor for NAFLD is obesity, other metabolic conditions including dyslipidemias and insulin-resistance may also contribute to increased risk of NAFLD also. NAFLD occurs when excess triglycerides and free fatty acids (FFA) infiltrate the liver and are stored as lipids inside hepatocytes. In addition to the effects of decreased liver function from damaged cells, NAFLD also contributes to increased levels of inflammatory cytokines that further disrupt metabolic processes. While often asymptomatic at its onset, NAFLD has the potential to cause more serious chronic conditions including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cirrhosis, and liver cancer. In addition, NAFLD may contribute to the development of chronic conditions that affect multiple body systems including insulin-resistance, atherosclerosis, and portal hypertension. Registered nurses (RN) and advanced practice nurses (APN) may be able to help prevent the progression of NAFLD in at-risk patients by implementing educational initiatives about the importance of healthy diets and increased physical activity as well as providing education about the importance of screening and laboratory procedures; these interventions may lead to earlier treatment and better patient outcomes long term.
Smith, Whitney, "Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease" (2018). Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Student Scholarship. 307.