The Lap-Band® Blog

Obesity & Liver Disease | Comorbidities for Obese Individuals


Most people know that obesity increases your risk for several serious conditions and diseases. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoarthritis are some of the most common obesity comorbidities. Less often discussed are non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In this article, we’ll cover these two obesity-related comorbidities in addition to discussing how the Lap-Band® Program can help reduce their symptoms and promote overall liver health.

Obesity and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

NAFLD is an umbrella term for a range of liver conditions characterized by an excess of fat stored in the liver cells, which can lead to inflammation. This fat is not due to excessive alcohol use, hence the term “non-alcoholic.” NAFLD symptoms are typically minimal; if they do manifest, they sometimes do so as fatigue and pain in the upper abdomen.

NAFLD is becoming increasingly common, especially in America, where nearly 25% of citizens are affected. Overweight or obese individuals who suffer from diabetes or have insulin resistance have an increased risk of developing NAFLD. While scientists don’t fully understand the correlation between obesity and NAFLD, they do know that losing weight can help improve NAFLD symptoms

If not addressed, NAFLD can lead to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) or eventual cirrhosis.

Obesity and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)

NASH is an advancement of untreated NAFLD. Like NAFLD, NASH is characterized by the excess of fat in the liver with the addition of inflammation and liver cell damage. NASH also has minimal symptoms, which may include unexplained weight loss, general weakness, or jaundice.

NASH is a less common obesity comorbidity than NAFLD, but when left untreated, it replaces healthy liver tissue with scar tissue, leading to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can lead to many different health complications, and late-stage cirrhosis can be fatal. 

How Lap-Band Can Help Treat NAFLD and NASH

The first recommendation for treating NAFLD and NASH is typically weight loss, which can help combat the conditions that lead to the development of fatty liver disease. For patients who qualify, the Lap-Band Program can help those suffering from NAFLD or NASH lose weight gradually and sustainably. 

During surgery, the Lap-Band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach. This band can be adjusted via a skin port, allowing patients to control their hunger and limit their food intake. In combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise, the Lap-Band Program can help patients take control of their weight, potentially leading to the reversal of their NAFLD or NASH.

To learn more about how Lap-Band can help you start the path to a healthier lifestyle, visit our website.