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Fatty liver disease comes in two main forms. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the term for a range of conditions caused by a build-up of fat in the liver. You can also get alcohol-related liver disease, which is liver damage that is caused by drinking too much alcohol. The Cleveland Clinic explains fatty liver disease is a common condition caused by the storage of extra fat in the liver.
A healthy liver should contain little or no fat, though the NHS estimates up to one in every three people in the UK has early stages of NAFLD, where there are small amounts of fat in their liver.
The Cleveland Clinic states: “Most people have no symptoms, and it doesn’t cause serious problems for them.”
Nonetheless, there are some signs which may crop up, and indicate you should speak to a doctor.
The British Liver Trust says swelling of the tummy area, known as ascites, is something to “tell a doctor” about “straight away”.
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The organisation explains: “The main treatment for NAFLD is eating a healthy diet, being more physically active and (if needed) losing weight.
“This might seem like very general advice, but these steps all reduce liver fat and inflammation. For example, for people who are overweight, evidence shows losing five to 10 percent of their body weight can stop and sometimes even reverse liver damage.
“There are currently no medicines to specifically treat NAFLD. But there is a lot of research being done to develop some.”
“Early-stage NAFLD does not usually cause any harm, but it can lead to serious liver damage, including cirrhosis, if it gets worse,” the NHS website states.