Silent liver disease — non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

What is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?

  • Resembles alcoholic liver disease, but occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol.
  • Build-up of extra fat in the liver causing inflammation and damage, leading to cirrhosis.
  • Affects 2% to 5 % of Americans but becoming more common.
  • Most common in people who are middle-aged, overweight or obese, can occur in children.
  • No symptoms, making early diagnosis tough.
  • Simple blood test or liver scan can reveal fatty liver disease.
Stages of liver damage include healthy liver, fatty liver, liver fibrosis, and cirrhosis

Are you at risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?

If you have one or more of the below health conditions, speak to your health care provider about ways to lower your risk.

  • Overweight or obese
  • Type II diabetes
  • High cholesterol

Why should I learn about non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?

In the United States, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is:

  • The leading cause of chronic liver disease in children and adults.
  • Third-most common reason for liver transplants.
  • A health diagnosis that can lead to cirrhosis, which is the 12th leading cause of death.

What are treatment options for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the most important factor to reducing your risks or reversing the disease.

  • Reduce weight
  • Follow balanced and healthy diet
  • Increase physical activity
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid unnecessary medications
Last reviewed: 
September 2017

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