Symptoms and Signs of Fatty Liver Disease

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 10/13/2022

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 caused by alcohol abuse, but other conditions can also cause fatty liver (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or non-alcoholic fatty liver steatohepatitis, NASH). Other causes of fatty liver include genetic conditions, obesity, and 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:

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.

What Is the Treatment for Fatty Liver Disease?

There is no direct treatment for fatty liver disease; management is directed at controlling the factors or conditions that have caused the fatty liver. Treatment may include:

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