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What causes fatty liver disease?

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Quick Answer

The main cause of fatty liver disease is excessive consumption of alcohol, according to Healthline. Other causes include certain medications, inherited metabolic disorders and toxins. It is also possible to develop fatty liver disease during pregnancy.

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Full Answer

The two types of fatty liver disease are alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The main cause of alcoholic fatty liver disease is alcohol intake. Alcohol damages the liver and makes it harder for the liver to break down fats, explains Healthline. If the patient stops drinking alcohol, the fatty liver goes away within approximately six weeks. However, if he continues consuming alcohol, he may develop cirrhosis.

Medical experts are not sure about the exact cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. However, this condition is associated with individuals who are obese or who suffer from type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease may also be a side effect of medications such as aspirin, tamoxifen, tetracycline and steroids, states Healthline. Other causes include genetic inheritance, rapid weight loss and hyperlipidemia, which is high levels of fat in the blood.

Acute fatty liver of pregnancy is a rare pregnancy complication that may be life-threatening, reports Healthline. This condition typically begins in the third trimester of pregnancy and causes symptoms such as nausea, jaundice and pain in the upper-right abdomen. Fatty liver disease that is a result of pregnancy often improves after delivery.

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