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|Synonyms||fatty liver disease (FLD), hepatic steatosis|
|Micrograph showing a fatty liver (macrovesicular steatosis), as seen in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Trichrome stain.|
|Classification and external resources|
Fatty liver is a reversible condition wherein large vacuoles of triglyceride fat accumulate in liver cells via the process of steatosis (i.e., abnormal retention of lipids within a cell). Despite having multiple causes, fatty liver can be considered a single disease that occurs worldwide in those with excessive alcohol intake and the obese (with or without effects of insulin resistance). The condition is also associated with other diseases that influence fat metabolism. When this process of fat metabolism is disrupted, the fat can accumulate in the liver in excessive amounts, thus resulting in a fatty liver. It is difficult to distinguish alcoholic FLD from nonalcoholic FLD, and both show microvesicular and macrovesicular fatty changes at different stages.
Accumulation of fat may also be accompanied by a progressive inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), called steatohepatitis. By considering the contribution by alcohol, fatty liver may be termed alcoholic steatosis or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and the more severe forms as alcoholic steatohepatitis (part of alcoholic liver disease) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).