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Fatty Liver Disease

Some people live healthy lives with excess fat in the liver. If the liver is not inflamed or damaged as a result, there is no need for medical attention. Fatty liver disease is a condition in which excess fat is retained in the liver cells (a process called steatosis). Fatty liver disease is reversible and most common in people who drink alcohol heavily, are obese, have high cholesterol, or have diabetes.


Fatty liver disease frequently shows no symptoms, or mild symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue;
  • Weakness;
  • Nausea;
  • Abdominal pain.


A fatty liver may be enlarged and felt during a physical examination. Fat in the liver may be seen on an ultrasound, CT scan or MRI. Liver enzymes are frequently elevated when there is fat in the liver. A liver biopsy may be needed in some cases.


The best treatment for fatty liver disease is weight loss. A dedicated weight reduction diet, ideally complimented by regular exercise, should lead to a decrease in fat in the liver and improvement in liver enzymes. Related diseases such as diabetes and high cholesterol levels should be treated, as well.

Lifestyle changes are essential to improve symptoms:

  • Lose weight;
  • Lower cholesterol;
  • Stop drinking alcohol;
  • Keep diabetes well-controlled;
  • Exercise and eat healthily.

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