Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) occurs when excess fat -unrelated to alcohol ingestion- builds up in the liver cells, according to the American Liver Foundation. When fat exceeds 5 to 10 percent of the organ's weight, swelling may lead to an increased risk for failure and other conditions.
The condition tends to develop more frequently in overweight and obese patients and those with diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides. Poor eating habits and rapid weight loss are also believed to contribute to NAFLD, cites the American Liver Foundation.
Blood tests indicating high levels of liver enzymes are the first warning sign; an ultrasound confirms NAFLD diagnosis once other conditions are ruled out through additional tests.