An increased build-up of fat in the liver.
Major risk factors include obesity and type 2 diabetes, though it’s also associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

Microscopic view of healthy liver and non-alcoholic fatty liver
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease Open pop-up dialog
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an umbrella term for a range of liver conditions affecting people who drink little or no alcohol. As the name suggests, the main characteristic of NAFLD is too much fat stored in the liver cells.

NAFLD is increasingly common around the world, especially in Western countries. In the United States, it is the most common form of chronic liver disease, affecting about a quarter of the population.

Some people with NAFLD may develop nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an aggressive form of fatty liver disease, which is marked by inflammation of the liver and can progress to advanced scarring (cirrhosis) and liver failure. This damage is similar to the damage caused by heavy alcohol consumption.

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The liver pop-up dialog Open
NAFLD usually does not cause any signs or symptoms. When it does, they can include:

Pain or discomfort in the upper right abdomen
Possible signs and symptoms of NASH and advanced scarring (cirrhosis) include:

Abdominal swelling (ascites)
Enlarged blood vessels just below the surface of the skin
Expanded fantasy
Red palms
Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any persistent signs and symptoms that worry you.

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The causes
Experts are not sure exactly why some people accumulate fat in the liver while others do not. Likewise, there is limited understanding of why some fatty livers develop inflammation that progresses to cirrhosis.

Both NAFLD and NASH are related to the following:

Overweight or obese
Insulin resistance, in which your cells do not absorb sugar in response to the hormone insulin
High level of sugar in the blood (hyperglycaemia), indicating prediabetes or type 2 diabetes
High levels of fats, especially triglycerides, in the blood
These combined health issues appear to promote the deposition of fat in the liver. For some people, this excess fat acts as a toxin for the liver cells, causing inflammation of the liver and NASH, which can lead to a buildup of scar tissue in the liver.

Risk factors
A wide range of diseases and conditions can increase your risk for NAFLD, including:

High cholesterol
High levels of triglycerides in the blood
Metabolic syndrome
Obesity, especially when fat is concentrated in the abdomen
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Sleep Apnea
Type 2 diabetes
Hypothyroidism (hypothyroidism)
Pituitary gland (hypopituitarism)
NASH is more likely in these groups:

Older people
People with diabetes
People whose body fat is concentrated in the abdomen
It is difficult to distinguish NAFLD from NASH without further testing.

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