What is a Fatty Liver?


What is a Fatty Liver?

Fatty liver (steatosis) is caused by the fat build-up in liver cells. The liver has fat normally, however, when the liver contains 5-15%  of fat, this is known as a fatty liver.

What is a fatty liver?


What are the Symptoms?

People who have a fatty liver usually are without symptoms. If signs do appear, they might include:

  • A fullness feeling in the upper right or middle abdominal area
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Loss of weight or appetite
  • Nausea
  • Jaundice (yellowing in the whites of the eye and on the skin)
  • Weakness
  • Swelling of legs and abdomen (edema)
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Mental confusion
  • Skin problems

There are Two Types of Fatty Liver

  1. Non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL)—whereby the build-up of fat is not connected to consuming alcohol.
  2. Alcoholic fatty liver—whereby the build-up of fat is a result of drinking excessive alcohol (more than two drinks each day.)

What are the Effects of Fatty Liver Disease?

In many cases, a fatty liver does not lead to liver dysfunction or any grave problems. However, it could lead to damage to the liver under particular circumstances. The more severe condition is non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) as a result of fatty liver which is non-alcoholic. This can occur more likely in those with diabetes or overweight people. As much as 25% of the USA’s population is affected by fatty liver disease.

Fatty Liver Risk Factors

The risk factors are many for NAFL disease. If a person has a certain risk factor they are more inclined to experience a disease or condition. Risk factors include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having insulin resistance or diabetes (type 2)
  • Metabolic syndrome – which combines excessive body weight, raised blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides and insulin resistance.
  • Some metabolic conditions that are genetic or prescribed medications (tamoxifen, amiodarone, steroids, and diltiazem) may also raise risking NAFL disease. If you’re taking any such medications, check with your doctor for a substitute drug.

Fatty Liver Diagnosis

Blood tests could be done in order to check the liver for elevated enzymes. A computer tomography (CT) scan or ultrasound to see if there are any abnormalities and to confirm a diagnosis. A tissue sample by having a biopsy of the liver may be required if a severe disease is suspected by your doctor.


You may need a special diet since weight loss can decrease the fat levels of your liver. Even just 1 – 2 pounds each week may help. This can be discussed with a nutritionist or your doctor.

Drugs that monitor blood sugar can help in the treating diabetic patients. Vitamin E, also, has been demonstrated as effective in certain cases and further studies are underway.

How to Prevent Fatty Liver

  • Maintain a weight that is healthy. Lose weight under professional supervision if you are overweight.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Foods rich in cholesterol should be avoided. Foods low in fat, and fruit and vegetables might assist in lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

what is a fatty liver


  • Exercise on a regular basis.
  • Limit the quantity of alcohol you drink or avoid altogether.
  • Take medications only as prescribed.
This information is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

11 thoughts on “What is a Fatty Liver?

  1. Ramandeep

    Hello I found it interesting to learn about something new. I remember the term steatosis while in school but just like other things learnt from school, this learning faded too hence I liked refreshing my memory again. The picture is very helpful in explaining atleast now I won’t forget the term after seeing the visual part of it :). Thank you for sharing.

  2. Iain

    Always good to promote awareness of the liver. You know in Traditional Chinese Medicine, they associate the liver with the sour flavour. I wonder, do you think vinegar and sour fruits would be of any use in healing a fatty liver?

  3. Melinda

    I’ve been following the ketogenic diet and many people I have come across in support groups have said that it has completely reversed their fatty liver disease. Ketogenic diets are high in saturated fats though. You may want to eat fewer grains and more fats.

  4. Linda

    Very good information. Fatty liver is on the rise and the liver has such an important function in cleansing and removing toxins from our body, we cannot have it compromised by eating poorly. I also understand too much sugar can be the culprit too. What are your thoughts?

    1. kyl3 Post author

      Too much sugar in the form of simple carbohydrates such as biscuits, pasta, white bread build up in the liver often leading to weight gain and if there is high consumption over a long period of time this can lead to a fatty liver.

  5. ariel

    I found this article to be so informative! I know that in Chinese medicine the Liver is considered so very important and in Western Medicine we do not always give it the fame or attention, it deserves. And when our livers is toxic it impacts all parts of other organs too? Is that correct? Do you have a more specific diet that you recommend for healthy liver balance?
    in peace and gratitude, ariel

    1. kyl3 Post author

      I’ve recently posted an article on a diet for a fatty liver which is beneficial for all liver issues.

  6. Lace

    Informative post. It’s important to look after the liver as we only have one and can’t be without it. Thank you for sharing. What natural support can we implement other than diet? I don’t do pharmaceuticals. Cheers

  7. Ganesh

    hi there, good about post specific to disease fatty liver and include everything from symptoms to treatments. Got to learn something new.



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