Those who have fatty liver disease will often be completely fine and not feel the effects. But for up to 30% of people living with this disease, it can continue to worsen to a point where the patient’s life can be at risk. It will progress through three stages: steatohepatitis, where the liver becomes inflamed and the tissue becomes damaged; fibrosis, where scar tissue begins to form where the liver is damaged; and finally cirrhosis, where extensive scar tissue replaces healthy tissue in the liver. When cirrhosis of the liver happens, it impairs the liver’s ability to function, eventually leading to liver failure or liver cancer.
Fatty liver disease can come in two different forms: alcohol-induced fatty liver disease, and non-alcohol related fatty liver disease. Alcohol-induced fatty liver disease affects about 5% of people in the US, where non-alcohol related fatty liver disease can affect up to one in three people. Prevention of the disease is the easiest way to avoid it – lifestyle changes like a reduction in alcohol, weight loss for those with obesity, exercising regularly, and taking medications as prescribed can all help ensure your liver stays healthy and functioning.