Fatty liver develops because the liver has difficulty breaking down fats, causing a buildup in the tissue and hampering its functions.
Approximately 30 percent of American adults are affected by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Of this number, approximately 20 percent have developed progressive non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which may lead to cirrhosis. Groups more prone to NASH include obese men with type 2 diabetes, Asians, South Sea Islanders and Latin Americans. Genetics may be another factor in the rapid development of NASH.
Patients with NAFLD may also have:
- Insulin resistance: Diminishment of the cells’ ability to respond to insulin when insulin transports glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into muscle and other tissues
- High levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in your blood
- Low levels of HDL, the good cholesterol, in your blood
- Too much fat around your waist
- High blood pressure