Medical Definition of Hepatic steatosis

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Hepatic steatosis: a term used to refer to the buildup of fat within cells of the liver. This is a general term that simply refers to fat in the liver. Fatty liver can be due to alcohol use disorder and heavy consumption of alcohol as well as a group of other conditions referred to as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common form of chronic liver disease in the US, affecting around 80 to 100 million people. Obesity and type 2 diabetes increase the risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a potentially serious type of NAFLD associated with liver inflammation that can develop into scarring (cirrhosis), liver damage, which can lead to liver cancer. Fatty liver itself typically does not cause symptoms, but in some people, it may cause tiredness, an enlarged liver, and right upper abdominal pain.

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Reviewed on 10/8/2018

REFERENCE: Tommolino, E, MD, et al. Fatty Liver. Medscape. Updated: Apr 12, 2018.
<https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/175472-overview>

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