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Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease


Disease: Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Category: Liver Diseases
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Disease Definition:

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a fat buildup in the liver of people who drink little alcohol or do not drink at all. This disease at its most  severe form could develop to liver failure.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is common and for most people causes no complications as well as no signs and symptoms. However, in some people, the fat buildup could cause inflammation and scarring in the liver; this serious form of the disease is sometimes called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

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Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


When nonalcoholic fatty liver disease causes signs and symptoms, they might include weight loss, fatigue and pain in the upper right abdomen.

If people have persistent signs and symptoms of this disease, a doctor should be seen.


When the liver has trouble decomposing fat resulting in its accumulation in the liver tissue, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease occurs. The wide range of diseases and conditions connected to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is so varied that it is difficult to identify a single cause; that is why doctors are not sure what exactly causes this disease.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can take several forms from harmless to life-threatening, including nonalcoholic fatty liver, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease-connected cirrhosis.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver:
This condition is thought to be very common. It is not normal for fat to accumulate in the liver, but it is not necessarily harmful. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease at its simplest form could cause extra liver fat but with no complications.

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis:
The fat in a small number of people with fatty liver causes inflammation in the liver; this could cause complications and decrease the ability of the liver to function.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease-connected cirrhosis:
The inflammation of the liver causes scarring of its tissues, and this scarring can become so severe over time, that it causes liver failure in which the liver no longer functions sufficiently.

There are many diseases and conditions that could raise the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease including:



  • High cholesterol
  • High levels of triglycerides in the blood
  • Malnutrition
  • Rapid loss of weight
  • Obesity
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Wilson’s disease
  • Toxins and chemicals like pesticides and herbicides
  • Certain medications





Doctors normally work to treat the risk factors that lead to liver disease; for example, if the patient has obesity, the doctor would help the patient lose weight through diet, exercise, and in some cases medications and surgery. Moreover, the doctor would try to change the medication if it is causing the fatty liver disease. However, there is no regular treatment for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.


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