Fatty liver

What Is Fatty Liver?

Fatty liver, also called hepatic steatosis, happens when fat accumulates in the liver. It is okay to have some amount of fat in the liver, but too much fat can become a health issue.

The liver, which is the largest organ in the body, does a lot for us. It helps process nutrients from food and drinks and filters any harmful substances from the blood.

But if your liver has too much fat, it can cause inflammation, which can result in the scarring of tissues and damage the liver. In severe cases, this scarring can lead to liver failure if not appropriately managed.

If someone drinks a lot of alcohol and they happened to have fatty liver, it is known as alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD).

Often too much alcohol can be a cause of extra fat in the liver cells, but this may also happen in people who are not up to binge alcohol consumption.

Alcoholic fatty liver disease is due to alcohol abuse. The liver breaks down most of the alcohol into smaller substances so that it can be removed from the body. But in the same process, the liver may also produce harmful substances. This starts to damage the liver cells and weakens the body’s natural defence system.

Alcoholic fatty liver is the initial stage of alcohol-related liver disease, followed by alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.


Fatty liver may or may not cause any noticeable signs. You may feel tired or experience discomfort in the upper side of the abdomen.

Some people with fatty liver may have complications like scarring of the tissues.

In many cases, fatty liver causes no noticeable symptoms. But you may feel tired or experience discomfort or pain in the upper right side of your abdomen.

Some people with fatty liver disease develop complications, including liver scarring. Liver scarring is known as liver fibrosis. If you develop severe liver fibrosis, it’s known as cirrhosis.

Cirrhosis may cause symptoms such as:

  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • weakness
  • nosebleeds
  • itchy skin
  • yellow skin and eyes
  • abdominal pain
  • breast enlargement in men
  • abdominal swelling
  • swelling of your legs
  • confusion
  • fatigue

Cirrhosis is potentially a life-threatening disorder. So, it is necessary to ensure that you should consult a doctor and get treated.


Fatty liver develops when the body generates too much fat or does not use fat in the body efficiently enough. This excess fat may get stored in the liver cells when it accumulates and causes fatty liver disease.

This fat build-up can be a result of many other conditions, including:

Too much alcohol can result in the generation of too many unhealthy cells. This overproduction of unhealthy cells may overpower healthy cells within the liver, triggering inflammation. Liver disease is caused by alcohol is the first stage of alcohol-related liver disease.

But in those with no alcohol habits, a certain cause of fatty liver is still not known.

At that time, one or more of the following factors may play a role:

  • high levels of fat, especially triglycerides, in your blood
  • obesity
  • high blood sugar
  • insulin resistance

Less common causes include:

  • sudden weight loss
  • some types of infections, such as hepatitis C
  • pregnancy
  • side effects from some types of drugs or medications, such as methotrexate (Trexall), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), amiodarone (Pacerone), etc.
  • exposure to certain toxic materialsv
  • genes may also contribute to your risk of developing fatty liver.