What is Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease? Causes and Symptoms

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition wherein the liver has excess fat despite the person being a nondrinker or a very moderate occasional drinker of alcohol. Those who drink alcohol regularly or are alcoholic can have fatty liver which is caused primarily due to alcohol consumption. However, many doctors are of the opinion that fatty liver caused by alcohol would lead to cirrhosis and it is liver cirrhosis that gets diagnosed eventually and not fatty liver.

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Causes

The liver is a large organ on the right side of your body. The liver serves the function of storing fat and releasing it when the body requires it. The liver also helps in breaking down the fat when it is stored for easier absorption by the cells of the body. When the liver stores excess fat due to one or more reasons and when it is unable to break down the fat, the accumulation of the excess fat leads to scarring and inflammation of the tissues in the liver. This is the beginning of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease In rare cases, it can lead to liver failure. 🙁

What is Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?
Poor lifestyle choices can not only make your fat, but it could be giving you a fatty liver.

There is no one or single cause of non alcoholic fatty liver. Several health conditions and factors can contribute to the fat buildup in the organ.

Poor lifestyle choices (smoking, drinking alcohol, a high sugar diet) along with several other health conditions can cause a fatty liver. Also if someone takes a lot of medications even over the counter ones like like Tylenol they can be adding stress to the liver.

It must be noted that the liver would always store fat for the body and that is not dangerous. It is worrisome when the liver stores excess fat and that cannot be broken down or is not absorbed by the cells of the body later.

Once the scarring and inflammation begin, treatments should be recommended to prevent or manage nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Untreated and uncured, this can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease induced cirrhosis.

The scary thing about non-alcoholic liver disease is that you could have over 90% of liver damage and not even know it, because your body is acting normally. You can’t go by how you feel when it comes to the liver.

There are many health conditions and even medical treatments that can facilitate the causation of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Some of them are gastric bypass surgery, high cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides, metabolic syndrome, obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome, sleep apnea, Type 2 diabetes, underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism an underactive pituitary gland or hypopituitarism.

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Symptoms

There may or may not be any non-alcoholic fatty liver disease symptoms at the outset. During the first few years, most people don’t even realize that they may have a fatty liver. When the condition worsens or begins to worsen, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease symptoms include pain in and around the liver, usually at the upper right abdomen. Sometimes people have some pain in their right shoulder. Or they may experience bloating. Some people experience the whites of their eyes turning yellow. There may be itching on the bottom of your feet or the palms of your hands.

One of the biggest signs that you may have nonalcoholic liver disease is that there may be a large belly also known as a beer belly. Or you may be experiencing excess bloating. Some people also experience right shoulder pain.

The good news is that the liver can totally regenerate! However, it does take time to get the liver healthy once again.

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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6 thoughts on “What is Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease? Causes and Symptoms”

  1. Thanks for this informative article, Wendy!

    I’ve been wondering about the impact of eating pork as far as the liver is concerned…..

    Knowing that the digestive system of a pig is geared to its apparent purpose: an animal that helps to reduce food wastes by consuming them…..

    Yet, we humans, who sometimes eat pork, do not have a digestive system so tough and able to fulfill the consumption of food wastes in this way, when we eat this animal’s meat, are we doing our liver a disservice?

    Thank you very much for this informative Website.


    1. Hi Therese,

      I think farmers give pigs scraps and such because their digestive system can handle it, but I don’t think it really hurts our liver when we eat the meat of a pig. We as humans are meant to eat meat. So I think our liver can handle it pretty well. What worries me is the sugar, additives and chemicals that many people eat every day. I think this is the real disservice to our liver. I don’t think we were meant to eat that kind of stuff. And sadly because of things like sodas, many kids are even developing non alcoholic fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes. This is just scary to me.

  2. This is a great site for weight loss at fifty. Anyone who is over fifty knows that the weight doesn’t come off easy. So I’m glad Wendy you took the time to address the issue of weight loss at fifty. This site has great content and is very informative. I will be coming back from time to time to get more information to help me while on my weight loss journey.

    1. I wish you all the best with your weight loss journey, Jessie. I hope some the the information here helps you out.

  3. Hi, Wendy. Interesting article. I had no idea there was such a thing as non-alcohol liver disease! I’ve never even heard the term before now. So glad I found your website: knowing the symptoms can help with diagnosis/treatment. There are so many things regarding our health that we just don’t kow. Thank you for what you do! 🙂

    1. I know what you mean. I didn’t know either. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is very scary. My grandfather was a weekend drinker and he died of cirrhosis of the liver which is what ultimately can happen. Once cirrhosis happens you either die or hope for a transplant. It was really sad. Now many children are needing liver transplants because of liver damage caused by sugar. Sodas are just as bad as beer as far as I’m concerned.

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