What is fatty liver disease?

    Fatty liver disease is when you have too much fat in your liver. It is common in the United States -about 1 in 10 people have fatty liver. A more serious form of fatty liver disease is called ''NASH,'' which stands for ''Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis'' and causes damage to the liver.

    How can I tell if I have fatty liver disease?

    You will not feel any symptoms of fatty liver disease. Your doctor may do blood tests to check your liver. You may also get an ultrasound of your liver to see how much fat there is. Rarely, a biopsy is done to look at a very small piece of your liver.


    Why do I have fatty liver disease?

    Fatty liver is more likely if you:
          Are overweight, especially with extra weight around your middle
          Have diabetes (high blood sugar)
          Have high cholesterol
          Take a lot of certain medicines, such as Tylenol or steroids

    How can I make my fatty liver disease better?

    There are no medicines to cure fatty liver disease. You can lower the fat in your liver when you:

         Lose weight, with a goal of losing 2 pounds a week

         Exercise daily

         Take medicines as directed by your doctor, especially if you have high blood sugar or high cholesterol

         Do not drink alcohol 


    Will my fatty liver disease get worse?

    Fatty liver does not usually get worse with time. Rarely, people who have fatty liver for many years can develop cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is serious damage to the liver that can cause liver failure.

    This document is intended to provide health related information so that you may be better informed. It is not a substitute for your doctor’s medical advice and should not be relied upon for treatment for specific medical conditions.


    © 2011 The General Hospital Corporation. 

    Primary Care Operations Improvement Site prepared by the MGH Laboratory of Computer Science

    Click the link for more information on Gastroenterology Clinical Service



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