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Fatty Liver Disease


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Fatty liver, or steatosis, is too much fat built up in the liver cells. Steatosis with inflammation is called fatty liver disease (or steatohepatitis).

Types of fatty liver disease include:

  • Alcoholic liver disease (ALD): caused by excessive alcohol use
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): associated with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol

Signs and symptoms of fatty liver disease include:

  • Abdominal pain (upper right side)
  • Abdominal swelling (ascites)
  • Enlarged liver and/or spleen
  • Enlarged blood vessels under skin
  • Fatigue
  • Red palms
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

When left untreated, fatty liver disease can lead to cirrhosis (irreversible scarring) and liver failure.

It’s important to diagnose fatty liver disease in the early stages, when it's most treatable. If you have symptoms of fatty liver diseases, make an appointment with a University of Miami Health System hepatologist (liver specialist) today.


Advanced Diagnostic Imaging
Medical imaging, such as abdominal ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans show blood flow, size, structure, and function of the liver and surrounding organs.

A liver biopsy is a small tissue sample taken from a needle for analysis at a lab. Liver biopsies are performed using ultrasound imaging to guide the needle to the right place.

This type of imaging measures sound waves moving through the liver to detect tissue stiffness or hardening. Techniques include magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) and transient elastography using ultrasound.

Lab Tests
Some of the urine and blood tests that help detect fatty liver disease include liver function studies, cellular blood counts, electrolytes, and autoimmune antibodies.


Lifestyle and Dietary Changes
If you drink alcohol, quitting can help reduce further liver damage. Your doctor may also recommend exercise, dietary changes, or nutritional counseling to help you identify the best (and worst) foods to help improve your symptoms and keep your liver healthy.

Vaccinations for viruses, like hepatitis B, can protect against further liver damage.

Why Choose UHealth?

Researching breakthroughs in treating NAFLD. We’re actively conducting clinical trial research for new and safer medicines for NAFLD. We bring what we learn to you, faster.

Special expertise in related conditions. Our liver specialists and care teams treat fatty liver disease and have special expertise in related conditions, including chronic viral hepatitis and cirrhosis. We can predict problems before they happen and, if necessary, begin treatment right away.

Seamless services from providers who care about you. Our hepatology teams provide fatty liver disease treatment in the hospital or outpatient (clinic) offices in South Florida. We’re here for all your needs.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.