Fatty Liver Disease: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Fatty liver disease is the accumulation of abnormal amounts of fat within the liver cells (hepatocytes). Fatty liver disease can progress to cause cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver failure. It usually does not cause symptoms and signs unless there is progression to liver failure.

Complications of cirrhosis are the main causes of signs and symptoms of fatty liver disease. These can include abdominal pain, swollen belly, swollen legs, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes), and tiredness. Enlargement of the breasts in men is another possible associated sign.

Causes of fatty liver disease

Fatty liver disease can be caused by excess alcohol consumption or other causes, in which case it is known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Other fatty liver disease symptoms and signs


Long-term heavy alcohol consumption can cause: See Answer

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.