If fat makes up more than 10 percent of the liver, it is considered fatty liver. Fatty liver can cause inflammation, which in turn leads to permanent scarring (cirrhosis). Cirrhosis is a serious complication that can result in liver failure and death. Fatty liver is sometimes linked to alcohol abuse, but it can also develop in people with conditions that compromise the liver's ability to break down fats. Such conditions include obesity, high triglycerides, and diabetes. However, some people develop fatty liver for no obvious reason. Since fatty liver typically has no symptoms, people are often diagnosed when having tests for some other reason. Unfortunately, permanent liver damage may be done before a diagnosis is ever made.
Though there are no treatments for fatty liver, certain lifestyle modifications can help prevent or reverse the damage:
- Losing weight
- Lowering triglycerides through diet and/or medication
- Avoiding alcohol
- Keeping diabetes well-controlled
- Getting adequate exercise
- Eating a healthy diet
Having regular checkups with a liver specialist.