There are generally two types of fatty liver disease, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Both involve the cells of the liver accumulating abnormal amounts of fat. Over time these fat deposits impede the efficiency of the liver. Eventually this leads to scaring and irreversible damage if steps are not taken to reverse the diffusion of fat within the liver.
While alcohol is a common cause of fat in the liver, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is usually the byproduct of a poor diet and obesity. However, not all NAFLD patients are overweight. Some can be very healthy individuals, athletes even. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects nearly 25% of the population.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can be classified as either IFL (Isolated Fatty Liver) or steatohepatitis (NASH). With NASH, the liver swells and is damaged as the cells die and are replaced with scar tissue leading to cirrhosis of the liver.
When enough of your liver succumbs to cirrhosis, it begins to shut down, leaving death or a liver transplant as the only viable option. Thus it is important to take preventative measures to ensure the health of your liver. If you suspect that your liver may have too much fat accumulated in it, do not wait, and get your liver enzymes checked and/or ultrasound. It is a good idea for anyone who is substantially overweight, to be screened.