Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFL) | What Do I Need to Know?

Fatty liver disease is a condition that is on the rise. Several causes contribute to its development, and some more than others. Fatty liver disease is generally divided into 2 main categories: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic fatty liver disease. The main reason this classification is present is because of the great impact of alcohol on the liver. Patients who consume alcohol in large quantities are much more liable to develop fatty liver disease than others.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, on the other hand, results from the accumulation of fat or “steatosis” within liver cells, in the absence of alcohol consumption. This is a strict definition, however, and people who consume alcohol moderately can still get non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

What causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease results when the body receives excess fats than the liver can process. This can occur in association with other conditions such as diabetes mellitus, obesity, and genetic conditions in processing fats. People with hormonal diseases such as hypothyroidism and polycystic ovarian syndrome can also have fatty liver disease.

Even though it is not directly related to hypertension or kidney disease, fatty liver disease usually occurs with them. People with fatty liver disease also have an increased risk of heart attacks especially if they also have diabetes. It is also noticed that smokers are at an increased risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Written by Martin Davis