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What is the cause of a fatty spot on the liver?

By Anonymous November 8, 2011 - 7:42pm
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Hi Anon,

Many people have some fat on their liver, this can be normal as long as it doesn't exceed 5-10%. Once there is more than 10% of fat on your liver you may be diagnosed with either Alcoholic Liver Disease or 

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)


Alcholoic Liver Disease:

Fatty liver can occur after drinking moderate or large amounts of alcohol. It can even occur after a short period of heavy drinking (acute alcoholic liver disease). Genetics plays a role in ALD in two ways. First, it may influence how much alcohol you consume and your likelihood of developing alcoholism. And, it may also affect levels of liver enzymes involved in the breakdown (metabolism) of alcohol.

Other factors that may influence your chances of developing alcoholic fatty liver disease include:

  • Hepatitis C (which can lead to liver inflammation)
  • An overload of iron
  • Obesity
  • Diet 

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD):

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is now the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the U.S. Some people with excess fat in the liver simply have what's called a fatty liver. Although this is not normal, it is not serious if it doesn't lead to inflammation or damage.

Causes of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)


The cause of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is not clear. Certain factors tend to increase risk, but in some cases, no risk factors show up. However, NAFLD tends to run in families. It also shows up most often in people who are middle-aged and overweight or obese. These people often have high cholesterol ortriglycerides and diabetes or prediabetes (insulin resistance), as well.

These are factors that may contribute to NAFLD:

  • Oxidative stress, which leads to damage of liver cells
  • Release of toxic inflammatory proteins from fat, liver, or other cells
  • Death of liver cells (apoptosis)

Other potential causes of fatty liver disease include:

  • Medications
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Autoimmune or inherited liver disease
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Malnutrition



Hope this helps,


November 9, 2011 - 6:44am
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