The most common cause of fat buildup in the liver is alcoholism, according to Healthline. Aside from the excessive consumption of alcohol, fat buildup in the liver can also be caused by obesity, type 2 diabetes, high fat levels in the blood, pregnancy, hepatitis A or the intake of steroids.
The majority of alcoholics suffer from fatty liver disease, reports Healthline. This is one of the earliest stages of liver disease caused by the excessive and persistent consumption of alcohol. Damage caused by alcohol consumed in such large amounts prevents the liver from properly breaking down fats. At this stage, if a person stops consuming alcohol, the liver regains its full functions, and within six weeks of sobriety, the liver begins to function normally. If alcohol consumption continues at such excessive rates, however, the liver is soon likely to develop cirrhosis.
With non-alcohol-related fat buildup in the liver, the liver goes through a similar process and swells from the excess fat accumulated, Healthline explains. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, nausea, loss of appetite and yellowing of the skin. If such a condition is untreated, it can lead to permanent scarring and likely liver failure. If an individual suspects fat buildup in the liver, he should contact a medical professional.