Fatty Liver : What is it ?


The liver is the second largest and a very important organ in the body. The liver’s function is like that of a water purifier that is to process everything one eats and drinks. It then filters the harmful substances from the blood. This process is, however, hindered if there is too much fat in the liver. The liver although commonly repairs itself by rebuilding new liver cells whenever they are damaged. But, when there’s repeated damage to the liver, permanent damage takes place. And this is called cirrhosis.

Liver has some fat in normal quantity but when it makes up more than 5%-10% of its weight, there arises this condition, called fatty liver disease. And yes, drinking is one of the key causes!  Fatty liver, or steatosis, is a term that describes the building up of excess fat in the liver. A fatty liver is the result of the excess fat in liver cells. Fatty tissue slowly builds up in the liver when a person’s diet exceeds the amount of fat that the body can handle. Fatty liver condition can be reversed and is often with no symptoms and can be completely benign does not leading to liver damage. However, once the simple fat starts building up, the liver becomes vulnerable, which may result in inflammation and damage of liver.


Experts don’t know exactly why some people accumulate fat in the liver while others do not. Similarly, there is limited understanding of why some fatty livers develop inflammation that progresses to cirrhosis. But, there are two types of fatty liver condition: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, and both are linked to obesity, insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and high levels of fat. These health problems encourage the deposit of fat in the liver.


There are two major kinds of fatty liver diseases. And they are:

  • Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) – Alcoholic liver disease as the name suggests is caused due to excessive drinking and the period or duration of drinking does not matter, it can even happen after a short period of heavy drinking.
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – Although the cause of this type of fatty liver disease is uncertain but it tends to run in the family. Moreover, the middle-aged and overweight people are at risk, along with people with high cholesterol and diabetes. It is also considered to be the manifestation of the metabolic syndrome.
  • Acute fatty liver of pregnancy – It is another kind of fatty liver which is a rare complication of pregnancy which can be life threatening.


However there isn’t any medication or surgery to treat fatty liver but it is not incurable. Some lifestyle changes and fixes to reverse the condition before it is too late. For e.g., quitting or limiting drinking, managing cholesterol, weight loss, maintaining blood sugar levels. Moreover, healthy eating habits can also be adopted to cure it, like, reducing the number of calories intake or eliminating fatty foods and foods high in sugar from your diet.



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