Symptoms and Signs of Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD, NASH)

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD, NASH)

Fatty liver disease refers to the buildup of fat within the liver. This condition is most commonly cause by alcohol abuse, but other conditions can also cause fatty liver (non-alcoholic fatty liver diease or non-alcoholic fatty liver steatohepatitis, NASH). Other conditions that can cause fatty liver include genetic conditions, obesity, and taking certain medications.

Fat in the liver does not cause specific signs and symptoms. However, if inflammation (hepatitis) is present along with the fat deposition, associated symptoms can include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, jaundice, and abdominal pain. Some cases of fatty liver progress to scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver and resultant liver failure. In this case, symptoms include a distended, fluid-filled abdomen, problems with blood clotting, and confusion.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.