Liver fat deposits refer to the additional fatty tissue that settles in the liver or liver cells. This can be caused by a high-fat diet, drinking alcohol, taking certain medications, and sometimes pregnancy. In most cases, these fatty deposits are considered benign and reversible. Sometimes, however, they can indicate a serious health condition.
Almost anyone can have fatty deposits in the liver, but there are some who are most at risk. Those who eat a high-fat diet may be more likely to develop them, as can anyone who ingests excessive amounts of alcohol. In fact, most drinkers end up with some degree of fatty deposits in the liver. They usually disappear over time if eating habits are changed. This means a healthier diet and a reduction in the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Sometimes fatty deposits in the liver can indicate a serious health condition. Liver cancer, liver cirrhosis and other conditions can cause fatty deposits. These deposits are similar to the fat that forms in other areas of the body. When excess fat is consumed, it cannot be easily burned for energy, so it accumulates in various cells throughout the body. The liver is one of the main organs affected because it filters out toxins and other materials, so it has the burden of filtering out fatty foods that are rich in toxins.
People with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance are also at greater risk of fatty deposits in the liver, as are obese people. If no action is taken, this fat can lead to liver malfunction. When this occurs, dialysis and eventually a transplant may be required.
Most cases of fatty deposits in the liver are reversible and do not cause permanent damage. They usually build up slowly and don’t lead to further complications for many years. Those who have fatty liver deposits should discuss possible actions that can be taken to remedy the situation before it worsens. Dietary changes, exercise, and avoiding substances that are hard on the liver are generally recommended.
If fatty liver is caused by medication, another medication can be tried to reduce side effects. Pregnancy-induced fatty liver often disappears after delivery. If a more serious health condition is suspected or if there are additional symptoms, treatment may be necessary.