Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Liver disease characterized by fatty change of hepatocytes, accompanied by intralobular inflammation and fibrosis; most often caused by alcohol abuse, diabetes or obesity but may be linked to adverse drug reactions, gastrointestinal and pancreatic disorders or total parenteral nutrition. When not associated with excessive alcohol intake, it is referred to as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

The liver is in the upper right part of the abdomen. Its functions include:

    Storing glycogen which is made from sugars. When required, glycogen is broken down into glucose which is released into the bloodstream.

  1. Helping to process fats and proteins from digested food.

  2. Making proteins that are essential for blood to clot.

  3. Helping to remove or process alcohol, medicines, and toxins from the body.

  4. Making bile which passes from the liver to the gut down the bile duct. Bile breaks down the fats in food so that they can be absorbed from the bowel.

In the USA the incidence of steatohepatitis is 10 to 15% of the general population and is much higher than this in obese individuals.

Steatohepatitis is otherwise called as fatty liver disease (FLD). This is a reversible condition which is caused by the triglyceride fat accumulation in liver cells. It is seen world wide and it has multiple causes which mainly includes excessive alcohol intake. Steatohepatitis is commonly caused either by alcohol or metabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes, obesity) and other causes include drugs and toxins.

Risk Factors may include:

    Eating unhealthy, fatty and high calorie foods causes fat build up in the liver.

  • Metabolic syndrome includes diseases, like, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and dyslipidemia.

  • Glycogen storage disease, lipodystrophy and Wolman disease.

  • Malnutrition, gastric bypass, and total parenteral nutrition.

  • Inflammatory bowel disease and Hepatitis C.

  • Certain drugs and toxins can also cause steatohepatitis.


Symptoms may include:

    You will likely be overweight especially, in the abdominal area.

  • You will find it very hard to lose weight.

  • Experience constant fatigue.

  • Dull abdominal pain.

  • Flatulence.

  • Bloating.

  • Cramping.

  • Dark urine.

  • High cholesterol.

  • High blood pressure.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Constipation.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Fever.

  • Jaundice.

Complications may include:


  • Liver failure.

  • Liver cancer.


Your doctor visit may uncover something unusual in your blood test or find that your liver is enlarged during a simple routine checkup. These could be the first signs of having a steatohepatitis. Your doctor may perform other test to see if you have other liver diseases by performing more blood tests, a CT scan, an ultrasound or an MRI. If the other diseases are not found then you may be diagnosed with NASH. The disease is confirmed by a liver biopsy. This entails taking a sample of the liver tissue and lab test it under a microscope.


Treatment is mainly depends upon treatment of the underlying cause. There is no specific treatment for the severe conditions of fatty liver disease such as steatohepatitis, but health experts recommend reduction in alcohol consumption and improving the diseases related to fat metabolism. A change in diet and weight loss is considered as most effective against fatty liver disease. The diet should have rich vegetables, fruits and it should have only a little quantity of animal products. Medications may include insulin sensitizers, antioxidants, ursodeoxycholic acid and lipid-lowering drugs. Luckily, there are many herbal remedies for treating fatty liver that are effective in reversing the damage. Consult your doctor for alternative herbal treatment.

Disclaimer: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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