Also called steatosis, fatty liver can be a temporary or long-term condition, which is not harmful itself, but may indicate some other type of problem. Left untreated, it can contribute to other illnesses. It is usually reversible once the cause of the problem is diagnosed and corrected. The liver is the organ responsible for changing fats eaten in the diet to types of fat that can be stored and used by the body. Triglycerides are one of the forms of fat stored by the body and used for energy and new cell formation. The break down of fats in the liver can be disrupted by alcoholism, malnutrition, pregnancy, or poisoning. In fatty liver, large droplets of fat, containing mostly triglycerides, collect within cells of the liver. The condition is generally not painful and may go unnoticed for a long period of time. In severe cases, the liver can increase to over three times its normal size and may be painful and tender.
Causes and symptoms
The most common cause of fatty liver in the United States is alcoholism. In alcoholic fatty liver, over consumption of alcohol changes the way that the liver breaks down and stores fats. Often, people with chronic alcoholism also suffer from malnutrition by eating irregularly and not consuming a balanced diet. Conditions that can also cause fatty liver are other forms of malnutrition (especially when there is not enough protein in the diet), obesity, diabetes mellitus, and Reye's syndrome in children. Pregnancy can cause a rare, but serious form of fatty liver that starts late in pregnancy and may be associated with jaundice and liver failure. Some drug overdoses or toxic chemical poisonings, such as carbon tetrachloride, can also cause fatty liver.
Often, there are no symptoms associated with fatty liver. If there are symptoms, they can include pain under the rib cage on the right side of the body, swelling of the abdomen, jaundice, and fever. Symptoms that occur less often in alcoholic fatty liver, but more often in pregnancy related fatty liver, are nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.
I learned something new today thanks to your question. On another site it said too many soft drinks can cause fatty liver too.