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What is Fatty Liver

What is Fatty Liver


Fatty liver, also known as fatty liver disease (FLD), is a reversible condition wherein large vacuoles of triglyceride fat accumulate in liver cells via the process of steatosis (i.e., abnormal retention of lipids within a cell). Fatty liver develops when the body creates too much fat or cannot metabolize fat fast enough. As a result, the leftover is stored in liver cells where it accumulates to become fatty liver disease. Eating a high-fat diet does not directly result in fatty liver.  Despite having multiple causes, fatty liver can be considered a single disease that occurs worldwide in those with excessive alcohol intake and the obese (with or without effects of insulin resistance).   Fatty liver can also occur with poor diet and certain illnesses, such as tuberculosis, intestinal bypass surgery for obesity, and certain drugs such as corticosteroids. The condition is also associated with other diseases that influence fat metabolism. When this process of fat metabolism is disrupted, the fat can accumulate in the liver in excessive amounts, thus resulting in a fatty liver. It is difficult to distinguish alcoholic FLD from nonalcoholic FLD, and both show micro vesicular and macro vesicular fatty changes at different stages.

Accumulation of fat may also be accompanied by a progressive inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), called steatohepatitis. By considering the contribution by alcohol, fatty liver may be termed alcoholic steatosis or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and the more severe forms as alcoholic steatohepatitis (part of alcoholic liver disease) and Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).