Fatty liver disease also known as hepatic steatosis is a common liver condition caused by an excessive build-up of fat in the liver. Some amount of fat is generally found in a healthy liver. However, when fat contributes 5% to 10% of the liver’s weight, it is a sign of Fatty liver. The majority of the people show no symptoms, and they don’t experience any serious problems. However, it occasionally can result in liver damage. The good news is that simple modifications to lifestyle can frequently prevent or even correct fatty liver disease.

Fatty liver can progress through four stages:

Simple fatty liver where there is excess fat in the liver built up. Simple fatty liver that doesn’t progress is generally harmless. 

Steatohepatitis is where there is inflammation in the liver along with excess fat.

Fibrosis, where persistent inflammation in the liver causes scarring. However, liver functioning is still normal.

Cirrhosis, where excessive scarring of the liver leads to impaired liver function. This is the irreversible and most severe stage.

There are mainly two kinds of fatty liver disease:

  • (NAFLD) Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) is the term used to describe fatty liver in those who consume large amounts of alcohol.

  • Alcoholic steatohepatitis, another name for alcoholic fatty liver disease: This condition is referred to as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) among those who don’t use a lot of alcohol.

Causes of Fatty liver:

Alcohol abuse can result in AFLD. Heavy alcohol use can change some of the liver’s metabolic functions. Some of these metabolic byproducts have the potential to interact with fatty acids to create certain forms of fat that can build up in the liver.

Fatty liver disease can also occur in non-alcoholic people probably because their bodies either manufacture too much fat or don’t metabolise it effectively enough.

Other causes of Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease:

  • Obesity

  • Insulin resistant Type 2 diabetes

  • High blood fat levels, particularly triglycerides

  • Metabolic syndrome during pregnancy

  • Adverse drug reactions

  • Several infectious diseases, such hepatitis c

  • Genetic disorders


To diagnose fatty liver, doctor will take patient’s medical history, conduct a physical exam, and order one or more tests. 

  • Physical examination of the Abdomen

  • Liver function tests

  • Imaging studies like Ultrasound abdomen, CT scan, MRI scan

  • Liver biopsy


Doctor could recommend appropriate diet, physical activity recommendation, and lifestyle changes that can help patients with fatty liver

Dr. Giridhar Reddy
Consultant Gastroenterologist

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