More on fatty liver and its consequences:
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is now the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the U.S. Some people with excess fat in the liver simply have what's called a fatty liver. Although this is not normal, it is not serious if it doesn't lead to inflammation or damage.
Others have what's called nonalcoholic steatohepatisis (NASH). Although it is similar to alcoholic liver disease, people with this type of fatty liver disease drink little or no alcohol. NASH can lead to permanent liver damage. The liver may enlarge and, over time, liver cells may be replaced by scar tissue. This is called cirrhosis. The liver can't work right and you may develop liver failure, liver cancer, and liver-related death. NASH is one of the leading causes of cirrhosis.
Both types of NAFLD are becoming more common. Up to 20% of adults may have either fatty liver or NASH. And more than 6 million children have one of these conditions, which are most common in Asian and Hispanic children. Recent evidence indicates that NAFLD increases the risk of heart disease in children who are overweight or obese.