7 Warning Signs of Fatty Liver Disease

Are you experiencing pain and tightness in the abdomen? Does your complexion appear a bit off? You might not know it, but you may be experiencing the symptoms of fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease is a condition wherein too much fat gets stored in the liver, resulting to eventual liver damage.

What causes fatty liver? Obesity remains as the leading cause of fatty liver disease, with obese individuals increasing their chances of developing the condition by up to 75%. Genetics also play a role as some individuals may be born with low levels of enzymes crucial for fat metabolism. Aside from that, other common causes of fatty liver disease are diabetes, alcohol abuse, and hyperlipidemia.Think you might have fatty liver? Check out the 7 warning signs of this disease:



Jaundice is one of the most apparent symptoms of fatty liver disease. Jaundice refers to the unusual yellow coloration of the skin and the sclera, or the whites of the eyes, caused by abnormally high levels of bilirubin in blood. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment found in bile, a substance secreted by the liver.

6.Changes in urine and feces

Urine sample

Since the liver is not working properly, toxins in the body are not metabolized properly and end up in the urine and feces. Dark, strong-smelling urine, and clay-colored stools are common symptoms of the disease. You may also notice changes in the consistency of urine and pain during urination. In more serious cases, bowel movement may be accompanied with small amounts of blood. If you experience this, report to your doctor immediately as it may indicate a more severe problem.

5.Skin changes


Aside from the yellowing of your skin, you may also experience some skin issues such as darkening, broken blood vessels, spider veins, reddening of the palms, and more. These are the result of changes in blood chemistry due to impaired liver function.

4.Abdominal pain


Abdominal pain may also accompany fatty liver disease. The pain is typically localized to the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, the area where the liver is found, and is often described as dull and aching. This is usually indicative of inflammation or internal bleeding, and may be accompanied by vomiting.


3.Fluid retention

Ascites is another abdominal problem associated with fatty liver. It is a condition wherein there is excess accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, leading to swelling and a tight feeling in the abdomen. You may also experience breathing discomforts due to the abdominal pressure.

2.Muscle wasting


With a diminished ability to process proteins, the body is not able to maintain optimum muscular health, resulting to muscle wasting. Uncontrollable tremors, curling of fingers, and shrinking of tendons are some of the common manifestations of muscle wasting. Aside from that, you may also find that your bones are more susceptible to fractures and breakage.



Last but not the least is the most underestimated symptom of all — fatigue. A patient with fatty liver disease is likely to experience lethargy, impaired judgment, and sudden loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed. This is due to the body directing more blood supply than usual to the liver to compensate for its functional deficiencies.

If you are experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned above, it may be time to consult a doctor. However, not experiencing any of these warning signs is not enough reason to completely be at ease. Fatty liver disease may not present with any symptoms until the later stages; hence it has been dubbed as a “silent killer.” Everyone, especially those who have a higher predisposition to developing the disease, should be proactive about prevention. Start with making your lifestyle healthier by exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, and avoiding excess intake of alcohol. Adapt these changes gradually into your routine, and you won’t just decrease your chances of developing liver disease — you’ll also be safeguarding your health in the long term.

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About Dr Patrick Fraser

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