Fatty liver disease is becoming increasingly common in many parts of the world, affecting about 25% of people globally.
It is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes and other disorders characterized by insulin resistance.
What’s more, if fatty liver isn’t addressed, it may progress to more serious liver disease and other health problems.
What Is Fatty Liver?
Fatty liver occurs when too much fat builds up in liver cells. Although it is normal to have a tiny amount of fat in these cells, the liver is considered fatty if more than 5% of it is fat.
While drinking too much alcohol can lead to fatty liver, in many cases it does not play a role.
A number of fatty liver conditions fall under the broad category of non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD), which is the most common liver disease in adults and children in Western countries.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) is the initial, reversible stage of liver disease. Unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed. Over time, NAFL may lead to a more serious liver condition known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH.
NASH involves greater fat accumulation and inflammation that damages the liver cells. This can lead to fibrosis, or scar tissue, as liver cells are repeatedly injured and die off.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict whether fatty liver will progress to NASH, which greatly increases the risk of (severe scarring that impairs liver function) and liver cancer.
NAFLD is also linked to an increased risk of other diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease
What Causes Fatty Liver? See more…
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