Is fatty liver dangerous? Deciphering the Facts – HealthifyMe

Fatty liver is a health problem that affects more and more people, including children. It is a disease that builds up over time and takes more than 1-2 years to reach a dangerous level.

Although fatty liver is not as scary as other life-threatening conditions, it is a health disorder that no one can overlook.

Therefore, it is necessary to make lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly and regulating your diet to control your weight and control fatty liver disease.

Understanding fatty liver

The liver is an essential organ that supports many life-sustaining functions. These functions include producing bile to aid digestion, store iron, make proteins, help blood clot and remove toxins that can lead to infection.

Fatty liver disease is a not uncommon condition in which too much fat builds up in the liver. A healthy liver contains no or only a small amount of fat. The problem starts when the fat makes up 5-10% of the weight of the liver.

The buildup of fat in the liver may be due to alcohol abuse (alcoholic fatty liver disease) or other factors. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is most often seen in overweight or obese people.

The symptoms of fatty liver disease are not always obvious. Therefore, it is rare for a person to know they have this disease unless diagnosed for some other reason during testing. However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms become more visible. Individuals may experience anything from dull aches or pains in the right upper abdomen to extreme fatigue, rapid weight loss, and significant weakness.

Fatty liver: is it dangerous?

Most cases of fatty liver disease are not serious and do not progress to further stages. However, 7 to 30% of individuals with the condition may experience worsening symptoms over time. There are four stages of fatty liver disease, with the last stage being the most dangerous. Early-stage NAFLD causes no harm, but one can suffer severe liver damage if it worsens.

Steatosis, also known as simple fatty liver disease, is a generally harmless buildup of fat in the liver cells. It can only be diagnosed during tests. In nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, also known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the liver becomes inflamed, resulting in damaged tissue.

A studies shows that fibrosis stages F3 and F4 increase the risk of liver-related complications and death. This is because fibrosis occurs as a result of long-term inflammation, which leads to the formation of scar tissue around the site of liver damage. While the liver can still function normally, the damage caused by fibrosis makes it more susceptible to complications.

Cirrhosis is the most serious damage that can occur after years of inflammation. Here the liver shrinks and healthy tissue becomes scars and bumps. It can completely block liver function because the damage is permanent, leading to liver failure or cancer.

If cirrhosis does develop, the symptoms will also get worse at the same time. They include yellow skin and eyes, known as jaundice, as well as itchy skin and swollen ankles, legs, feet, and abdomen.

The HealthifyMe note

If you are diagnosed with fatty liver disease at an early stage, it is not a frightening condition. However, if you don’t get proper treatment, fatty liver disease can become serious and harmful. In addition, neglecting fatty liver disease can quickly lead to a host of other health disorders, including high blood fat, obesity, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.

Treatment and prevention

While there is no specific medication for fatty liver disease, medical professionals focus on managing factors that may have contributed to the condition. Usually, they recommend making lifestyle changes that will significantly improve your health. Some common lifestyle changes include:

  • Avoid alcohol
  • Medicines that control diabetes mellituscholesterol and fat in the blood
  • weight loss
  • Taking vitamin E and medications that treat diabetes in some situations

As a result, the best way to treat fatty liver disease is to prevent it in the first place. You can do this by maintaining your overall health and well-being:

Healthy weight management

If you are obese or overweight, you should exercise regularly, reduce extra calories and choose a healthy, balanced diet. If you are already at a healthy weight, you should maintain it through regular exercise and eating a balanced diet.

Exercise regularly

Whether you have fatty liver disease or not, it is essential to exercise regularly. Resistance or strength training exercises can help improve fatty liver disease. Aim for moderate-to-high-level aerobic exercise for 30 to 60 minutes, five days a week.

Healthy eating habits

Choose a healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats to ensure you stay within your limits. Also avoid fatty foods and reduce alcohol consumption.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease usually has no symptoms, so patients can live with it for many years without knowing they have it. However, about 30% of patients eventually develop an inflamed liver or scarring. Of these, about 20% develop end-stage cirrhosis, which can lead to liver failure and cancer.

Losing about 10% of body weight, exercising regularly, reducing alcohol consumption and avoiding processed foods can help reduce your risk of developing these complications.

Talk to an expert nutritionist at HealthifyMe for a personalized eating plan and lifestyle tips.

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