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What causes fat to build up in the liver?

Fat may build up in the liver for many different reasons. Alcohol is a common reason fat filling the liver.  Infections like hepatitis C can also lead to fat deposition. Certain rare metabolic conditions such as Wilson’s disease or lipid storage diseases may cause fat buildup in the liver.  It can also result from more common infections like hepatitis C.  Some women develop excessive fat in their livers as a result of pregnancy-related conditions. Taking certain medications such as corticosteroids may also raise your risk for excessive amounts of fat in your liver.  These conditions lead to fatty deposition in the liver due to those causes (secondary fat deposition).  When fat is deposited in the liver apart from those causes, especially when associated with obesity and diabetes or prediabetes, we label this condition NAFLD, a special category of fat in the liver. 

The rise in obesity and the metabolic syndrome in the United States is a primary reason, doctors believe, that fatty liver disease is also on the rise.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.