Nonalcoholic liver disease is recognized as an increasing health issue even in children and teenagers.

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Fatty liver disease is a condition in which fat starts to accumulate in your liver. A small amount of fat in the liver is normal. However, if fat makes up more than 5% to 10% of the liver’s weight, you may have fatty liver disease.
Too much fat in your liver can cause inflammation in the liver and can progress to more serious conditions like cirrhosis and liver failure.

There are two main types of fatty liver disease:

  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD).

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease affects people who consume little or no alcohol. It is more common in people who have type 2 diabetes, high levels of fats in the blood and are obese. It could also be due to effects of certain medications like corticosteroids, certain cancer drugs, etc.

Alcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition where fatty liver develops in someone who consumes alcohol in excessive quantities. The harmful effects of alcohol in the liver may lead to fat accumulation, hepatitis, and cirrhosis.

You have a greater chance of developing the nonalcoholic fatty liver disease if you:

  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes
  • Have abnormal levels of fats in your blood, which may include high levels of triglycerides, high levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, or low levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol
  • Have high blood pressure.
  • Have obstructive sleep apnea
  • Are a postmenopausal woman

In most cases, the fatty liver disease doesn’t cause any serious problems or prevent your liver from functioning normally. But in some people, the fatty liver disease gets worse over time. It progresses through four stages:

  1. Simple fatty liver (Steatosis) – A rather harmless build-up of fat in the liver cells that may only be diagnosed accidentally during tests carried out for another reason.
  2. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) – It is a more serious form of NAFLD where the liver has become inflamed.
  3. Fibrosis – At this stage, persistent inflammation causes scar tissue formation around the liver and nearby blood vessels, but the liver is still able to function normally
  4. Cirrhosis – the most severe stage, occurring after years of inflammation. Extensive scar tissue replaces healthy tissue. This damage is permanent and can lead to liver failure

Fatty liver disease often causes no symptoms until the disease progresses to the stage of cirrhosis of the liver. If you do have symptoms, they may include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the upper right side of the abdomen
  • Nausea or loss of appetite.
  • Yellowish skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice).
  • Swollen abdomen(ascites) and legs (edema).
  • Fatigue or mental confusion.

Obesity increases the risk of developing NAFLD. Those who are slim or of average build can also get fatty liver.

You  can develop fatty liver even if you do not have health problems such as diabetes .

You have a greater chance of developing NAFLD if you:

  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes
  • Have abnormal levels of fats in your blood, which may include high levels of triglycerides, high levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, or low levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol
  • Have high blood pressure.
  • Have obstructive sleep apnea
  • Are Hispanic or Asian.

Are a postmenopausal woman

NAFLD/NASH is now recognised as an increasing health issue in children and teenagers. Risk factors include obesity, insulin resistance, and hypertriglyceridemia (high triglycerides).

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