Classification of Fatty Liver Disease

There are primarily two types of fatty liver disease. This classification is majorly dependent on the causative factors.

1.   Alcoholic fatty liver disease

Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) is a disorder of the liver associated with consumption of alcohol and it is the major contributing factor to development of liver disease in developed countries. It often leads to more severe complications if alcohol consumption is not curbed.

Alcohol poses a major threat to the liver than any other agent because the liver has to detoxify over 70% of alcohol ingested into the body each time. During this process there is formation and accumulation of triglycerides and toxins which overloads the liver within a short time. There is usually inflammation of the cells after the accumulation of triglycerides and toxins which any attempt at healing will result is fibrosis and scarring of the hepatocytes which can progress to cirrhosis if not checked.

2.   Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

This is the most common liver disease found in people who do not consume alcohol. There is a growing concern about the increasing prevalence of this disorder which results when there are excessive fatty acids in the liver, thus hampering the normal function of this important organ. The major causes of this disease are:

  • Diabetes (insulin resistance)
  • Obesity
  • Impaired fat metabolism
  • Medications
  • Reye’s Syndrome in children
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Pregnancy
  • Hormone therapy

When the formation of triglycerides is high due to excessive fat intake and processes that induce production of this substance, most of it get accumulated in the liver causing much damage. The changes in the liver caused by these agents are not totally different from alcoholic fatty liver disease only that the onset may be slower and complications may be milder.

1 Comment

  1. Alice

    great post. Fatty liver from alcohol consumption is called steatohepatitis, and involves an inflammatory process along with fat infiltration of the cells. It is not common to see it in one with your limited history of consumption, but can happen. It typically occurs after years of malnourishment and excessive alcohol consumption.

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