what causes a fatty liver

What Causes A Fatty Liver?

Some of my patients have an abdominal ultrasound scan, and more and more commonly a ‘fatty liver’ is noted on the report. What causes a fatty liver?

A normal liver has very little fat in it. Once you have more than about 10% fat in there – you have fatty liver disease and visceral fat.

What Causes A Fatty Liver?

When I was at medical school the main cause of a fatty liver was alcohol abuse, not so today. So what causes a fatty liver these days? Being overweight and having too much body fat is the most common cause now.

Obviously alcohol is still a major cause, but with the rise in people’s weight, obesity is now the commonest cause of this disease.

Many people view their excess body fat as just sitting under their skin looking unsightly, but it’s doing a lot more. In addition to that, it infiltrates your internal organs too, including your liver.

What Is Danger Of A Fatty Liver?

Most people won’t know they have a fatty liver, but the more overweight you are the more likely you are to have one.

By and large it doesn’t cause any noticeable problems, not until significant damage has taken place.

what causes a fatty liver

Doctors often pick this problem up because overweight people are often seeing us, for one health reason or another. That means they often get blood tests done. One of those is often a ‘liver function test’. If this comes back abnormal we will often do and ultra sound scan to see what’s going on. Often it’s a fatty liver due to excess body weight.

In many people this fat in the liver just puts a strain on it – reflected by the abnormal blood test results. It can be reversible with weight loss, no harm done.

However, some people aren’t this lucky and having a fatty liver for a long time results in cirrhosis of the liver. What has happened here is that the liver has first enlarged (due to the fat), and then healthy liver tissue has been gradually replaced by scar tissue. The damage to the liver is now permanent and irreversible. You could end up needing a liver transplant just to survive.

In my book I talk about the longer term dangers of being significantly overweight. It can be like a throw of the dice – you’re likely to succumb to something, but you don’t know what it’s going to be. Why not nail this problem once and for all – my book will give you accurate information on how to do this (something you won’t find with a diet).

Have a great week.

Uber Health to you.

Dr Julie

Get your copy of Living the Slim Life here


6 thoughts on “What Causes A Fatty Liver?”

  1. My sister had a scan to check for gallstones. As well has having those she was told she has a fatty liver and to lose weight. I don’t think she was told all of this though, should she have been do you think?

    1. Dr. Julie Coffey

      I think there is just an acceptance among doctors that fatty liver is just par for the course in overweight patients, i.e. it’s expected. I don’t think this is taken seriously enough, but I can understand why – doctors are overworked already, and don’t have the answer for people’s weight problems.

  2. Hi Julie, I just recently got tested for this and thankfully all liver function tests were clear. I have been alcohol free for 4 months now but still struggling with losing the weight. Not looking forward to Christmas 🙁

    1. Dr. Julie Coffey

      Hi Gerry. I shouldn’t have to check this with you, but have you written up your health design? Not looking forward to Christmas – bar humbug!

  3. Lesley Mashiter

    Hi Julie, I am sat at home reading your blog having just had my gall bladder removed because of gall stones and a fatty liver.. Didn’t realise it would be so painful.

    I am now going to get your book and begine reading it again.. I am determ.ined to stick to the rules this time and hopefully lose weight.. I am afraid my partner is not very supportive and I have difficuly. I thionk it is the fact that you should be eating full fat, when I have stuck to low fat for so long.. Keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck

    1. Dr. Julie Coffey

      Hi Lesley
      Hope you’re recovering well. Remember – no hard and fast rules, only choice – which works well when you focus most of your effort on your mind-set.

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