Fatty Liver Disease: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Fatty Liver Disease?

Fatty liver disease is the build-up of excess fat in the liver cells, and is a common liver complaint in many people. It affects about one in every 10 people. It is normal for the liver to contain some fat, but if fat accounts for more than 10 per cent of the liver weight, then you have fatty liver and you may have serious liver complications. It is a reversible condition. Fatty liver may cause no damage, but sometimes the excess fat leads to inflammation of the liver. This condition is called Steatohepatitis. If it is due to alcohol abuse, then it leads to alcoholic Steatohepatitis. Otherwise the condition is called non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH).  

Fatty Liver Disease overview


  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasound scan
  • CT scan
  • MRI 
  • Liver biopsy

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  What is Fatty liver? 
Fatty liver is a condition in which there is excess deposition of glucose and triglycerides in the liver.  It is a reversible condition.

Q2.  What causes Fatty liver?  
Usually glucose and triglycerides are stored in the liver is utilized by the body as and when we need it. If you eat excessively and not utilize the glucose stored in the liver (sedentary lifestyle), it leads to Fatty liver. Excessive alcohol intake with no physical exercise is one of the main causes of Fatty liver and the beginning of Alcoholic liver disease.

Q3.  How do I know I have Fatty liver?  
There are no signs and symptoms of Fatty liver. It is usually diagnosed incidentally during routine ultrasound / CT or MRI scan of the abdomen.

Q4.  What are the complications of fatty liver?  
If Fatty liver persists for long period of time (many years) it leads to cirrhosis of the liver.

Q5.  What is the treatment for fatty liver?  
There is no specific treatment for Fatty liver. People are advised to take well balance diet and do regular physical exercise.  Avoid excess alcohol and high calorie food intake.

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