What is hepatic steatosis?


Quick Answer

Hepatic steatosis, also known as fatty liver, is excessive accumulation of fats in the liver. Healthline notes that having fat in the liver is normal, but if it exceeds 5 percent of the hepatic tissue, it becomes abnormal. The condition affects 10 to 20 percent of Americans — especially those between ages 50 and 60. Hepatic steatosis is reversible and does not cause permanent damage to the liver.

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What is hepatic steatosis?
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Full Answer

Hepatic steatosis is commonly caused by alcoholism but can also results from certain drugs, viruses and toxins. It is also associated with metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood cholesterol. Hepatic steatosis occurs when the body produces more fat than it can metabolize. Therefore, eating a high-fat diet does not directly cause this condition, which interferes with the normal functioning of the liver. Healthline reveals that hepatic steatosis does not have apparent symptoms, but some people may experience abdominal discomfort or fatigue. A doctor conducts a physical examination to detect an enlarged liver in a suspected case of hepatic steatosis. A fatty liver may be inflamed, causing symptoms such as weight loss and loss of appetite.

Healthline notes that treatment of hepatic steatosis focuses on its possible causes. Treatment interventions include management of cholesterol, treatment of alcoholism, blood sugar control and weight loss. A healthy lifestyle, such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining body weight and avoiding alcohol, reduces the risk of hepatic steatosis.

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