What Happens to the Body With Fatty Liver Disease?
Researchers say if current trends continue for another 20 years, the prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is expected to increase by 50% by 2030. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the buildup of fat in the liver cells of people who do not drink alcohol excessively. It's the most common liver disorder in Western countries and a key contributor to chronic liver disease. "Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is fast becoming one of the top concerns for clinicians due to the obesity epidemic and its potential to progress to advanced liver disease, which significantly impacts on overall liver-related mortality," Mark Thursz, vice secretary of the European Association for the Study of the Liver, says in a news release. "This data highlights a serious concern for the future, and the enormous increasing health burden of NAFLD." Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with obesity, insulin resistance ( prediabetes ) or diabetes , high blood pressure , and elevated blood fats. Liver Disease Following Obesity Trends In the study, presented at the International Liver Congress in Berlin, researchers analyzed data from three nationwide U.S. surveys conducted between 1988 and 2008, including responses from 39,500 adults. The results showed that during the study period, the prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease doubled from 5.51% to 11%. Researchers found during the first survey period from 1988-1994, 46.8% of all chronic liver disease was related to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. But by 2005-2008, this proportion had risen to 75.1%.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a fatty liver is typically due to an accumulation of fatty tissue, mostly triglycerides, with your liver cells. Your liver produces triglycerides and you also eat them, so any number of factors could collide and create a little too much fat in the liver. When you drink too much, says the NIH, you may get a fatty liver because of the effect of alcohol on the "redox state," or the balance of a number of synthesis and oxidation processes that occur in the liver. About 10 to 20 percent of Americans have some fat in their liver. When your doctor suspects you have a fatty liver because of the results of blood tests or a liver scan, this problem is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD. Scarring As fatty liver disease progresses, you can experience fibrosis.