What is a fatty liver and how can it be treated?

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confused tweenThe liver is an organ that is made up of a small amount of fat. In teens, too much fat or a “fatty liver” is most often caused by being overweight. Drinking large amounts of alcohol can also lead to fatty liver disease and serious complications. Other causes of (non-alcoholic) fatty liver disease include Hepatitis C and certain medications.

Your health care provider may tell you that you have a “fatty liver” if your blood tests show a higher than normal level of liver enzymes or if you have symptoms such as pain in the right upper portion of your stomach. If your health care provider is concerned, he/she may order an abdominal ultrasound. The only way to confirm fatty liver disease is to look at liver cells by examining a piece of liver tissue. This procedure is called a biopsy.

Treatment for a fatty liver includes losing weight if you are overweight, stopping all alcohol, eating healthy foods and avoiding refined grains, exercising more, and not taking medicine unless it’s prescribed by your health care provider.