What is Fatty Liver Disease? Its types, signs and diagnosis?

Medpho Team April 27, 2023


Fatty liver disease is a common illness caused by the accumulation of extra fat in the liver. Most people have no symptoms and do not cause serious problems. However, in some cases, liver damage can occur.

What is Fatty Liver Disease?

The liver is the body's largest organ. It enables your body to digest food, store energy, and flush out toxins. Fatty liver is a ailment wherein fats accumulates within the liver.There are two major categories:

  • NAFLD (Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease)
  • Alcoholic steatohepatitis (Alcoholic fatty liver disease)

What is (NAFLD) Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?

NAFLD is a sort of fatty liver disease that is not associated with alcohol consumption. There are two types:

  • Simple fatty liver refers to the condition in which fat is present in liver, but there is little to no inflammation or liver cell destruction. Simple fatty liver does not progress to the point where it damages or complicates the liver.
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, in which you have inflammation and liver cell destruction, as well as fat in your liver. Inflammation and liver cell injury can cause fibrosis, or scarring of the liver. NASH (Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) may lead to liver cancer or cirrhosis.

What is Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?

Alcoholic fatty liver is caused by immoderate alcohol consumption. Most of the ingested alcohol is broken down in the liver and excreted from the body. However, toxic substances can be produced during the degradation process. These substances can damage liver cells, increase inflammation, and weaken the body's natural defenses.The more alcohol you intake, the greater the damage to your liver. Alcohol-related fatty liver disease is the early stage of alcohol-related liver disease and the following stages are alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease?

People who have fatty liver disease frequently show no symptoms until the condition progresses to liver cirrhosis. If you experience symptoms, they may include:

  • Nausea 
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Jaundice
  • Edema (swollen abdomen and legs)
  • Excessive tiredness or mental confusion
  • Weakness
  • The upper right side of the abdomen discomfort or a sense of fullness (belly)

For any information related to free surgery under Ayushman Yojana or any queries regarding Ayushman Bharat Yojana, Contact Medpho on #BasEkCall at 88569-88569.


What Causes Fatty Liver Disease?

In fatty liver disease, extra fat is stored in the liver cells, where it builds up. This fat accumulation may result from several factors.

Drinking excess alcohol can lead to AFLD. Too much alcohol use can alter specific liver metabolic processes. Some of these metabolic products can combine with fatty acids, forming types of fat that can accumulate in the liver.

In people who do not consume more alcohol, the causes of fatty liver disease is less clear. For these people, it is possible their body produces too much fat or does not metabolise fat efficiently enough.

One or more of the following may be involved in people who do not drink much alcohol and develop fatty liver disease:

  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Increase levels of fat, especially triglycerides, in the blood
  • Insulin resistance

Other possible causes of fatty liver include:

  • Harmful impacts from some types of medication
  • Some infection types, like hepatitis C
  • A few uncommon genetic disorders
  • Pregnancy

How is Fatty Liver Disease Diagnosed?

There are frequently no symptoms, it is not easy to diagnose fatty liver disease. Your doctor may assume that you have it if you get abnormal results on liver tests that you had for other reasons. To make a diagnosis, doctors use:

  • Tests, such as imaging tests, blood and sometimes a biopsy
  • Your medical history
  • A physical exam

As part of your medical history, your doctor will ask about your alcohol consumption and determine if the fat in your liver indicates alcoholic or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). He or she will also inquire which medicines you take to determine whether a medicine is causing your NAFLD.

During a physical examination, your healthcare provider will check your body, height and weight. Your doctor will look for symptoms of fatty liver disease, including:

  • A swollen liver
  • Cirrhosis symptoms, such as jaundice, a condition that causes the sclera of your eyes and skin to turn yellow

You may have blood tests, such as liver function and blood counts. In some cases, imaging tests can also be done. To check liver fat and liver firmness. Liver stiffness can mean fibrosis, which is scarring of the liver. In a few cases, a liver biopsy is done to verify the prognosis and to decide the volume of liver damage.

Blood tests, such as liver function and blood count checks, are probably in the works for you. You might also have imaging tests in some circumstances, such as those that examine the stiffness of your liver and the amount of fat there. Fibrosis, or liver scarring, can be the cause of hepatic stiffness. You might also require a liver biopsy in some circumstances in order to confirm the analysis and decide the severity of liver damage.

How is Fatty Liver Disease Treated?

Fatty liver disease is not treated with a specific drug. The focus of medical care is on helping you in modifying the conditions that lead to it. Making lifestyle adjustments is also advised because it can significantly enhance your health. Treatment includes:

  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Losing weight
  • Taking prescription drugs to manage diabetes, cholesterol, and triglycerides (fat in the blood).
  • Take vitamin E and thiazolidinediones, such as Actos® and Avandia®, when necessary to control diabetes.

How can Fatty Liver Disease be Prevented?

In order to avoid fatty liver disease, you should do the following things:

  • Keep your weight in check. Lose weight gradually if you are overweight or obese.
  • Make sure you exercise regularly.
  • You should limit the amount of alcohol you consume.
  • It is essential to take the medicines as prescribed.


Fatty liver disease can help you avoid cirrhosis or liver cancer, which are fatal liver conditions. Even if you don't have any symptoms or liver function problems at this point, it's still important to stop or reverse fatty liver disease.

For any information related to free surgery under Ayushman Yojana or any queries regarding Ayushman Bharat Yojana, Contact Medpho on #BasEkCall at 88569-88569.