Fatty Liver (Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis)

  • Medical Author:
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder Anand, MD
Take the Liver Disease Quiz

Liver Disease Symptoms

Symptoms of liver disease are caused by the underlying disease affecting the liver and may include:

  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Leg swelling
  • Fatigue

Nonalcoholic fatty liver facts

  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD) is the accumulation of abnormal amounts of fat within the liver.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can be divided into isolated fatty liver in which there is only accumulation of fat, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in which there is fat, inflammation, and damage to liver cells.
  • NASH progresses to scarring and ultimately to cirrhosis, with all the complications of cirrhosis, for example, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver failure, and liver cancer.
  • The development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is intimately associated with and is probably caused by obesity and diabetes.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is considered a manifestation of the metabolic syndrome.
  • The symptoms of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are primarily those of the complications of cirrhosis in patients with NASH; isolated fatty liver infrequently causes symptoms and usually is discovered incidentally. The complications of cirrhosis include:
  • The differentiation of isolated fatty liver from NASH usually requires a liver biopsy.
  • The most promising treatments for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are
  • Several drugs have been studied in the treatment of NASH. There is little evidence that any drug is effective in slowing the disease progression of NASH.
  • Many diseases are associated with NASH and are part of the metabolic syndrome. These diseases should be screened for and treated, for example, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia and diabetes.
  • Isolated fatty liver rarely progresses to NASH or cirrhosis.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, including NASH affects young children as well.
  • NASH will become the number one reason for liver transplantation unless effective and safe treatments are found.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/21/2015
Liver Disease Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Fatty Liver - Symptoms

    The symptoms of fatty liver can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

    Post View 38 Comments
  • Fatty Liver - Causes

    What caused your fatty liver?

    Post View 13 Comments
  • Fatty Liver - Diet

    What changes have you made to your diet since being diagnosed with a fatty liver?

    Post View 4 Comments
  • Fatty Liver - Treatment and Medications

    What kinds of treatment, including medication, have you been given for your fatty liver?

    Post View 2 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors