Fatty liver disease: Swelling occurring in any of these body regions could indicate risk

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It is unclear exactly what causes the build-up of fat seen in NAFLD but it’s usually seen in people who are overweight or obese. It is also fiendishly difficult to diagnose the condition because there are usually no signs and symptoms. However, spotting swelling in any of these body regions could be an indicator of your risk.

NAFLD typically doesn’t produce visible warning signs. Late-stage NAFLD may cause the body to undergo swelling, however.

Some of the most acute warning signs are associated with cirrhosis – the most advanced stage of NAFLD.

Cirrhosis is scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by long-term liver damage.

“If cirrhosis (the most advanced stage) develops, you can get more severe symptoms,” explains Rowcroft Medical Centre.

According to the health body, swelling in the legs, ankles, feet or tummy may signal cirrhosis.

Cirrhosis is scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by long-term liver damage.

According to the British Liver Trust (BLT), people are more likely to develop fatty liver disease if they have:

  • An unhealthy diet
  • A weight in the overweight or obese range
  • High blood lipids
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • An underactive thyroid
  • Insulin resistance.

Other symptoms you may be heading to liver cancer can include:

  • Bloating or swelling in your belly
  • Loss of appetite and feelings of fullness
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness or deep fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Yellow skin and eyes
  • Pale, chalky bowel movements and dark urine
  • Fever.


The NHS explained: “NAFLD is often diagnosed after a blood test called a liver function test produces an abnormal result and other liver conditions, such as hepatitis, are ruled out.”

But blood tests do not always pick up NAFLD.

“The condition may also be spotted during an ultrasound scan of your tummy,” said the NHS.

This is a type of scan where sound waves are used to create an image of the inside of your body.

Who’s at risk?

Experts don’t know exactly why some people accumulate fat in the liver while others do not.

“Similarly, there is limited understanding of why some fatty livers develop inflammation that progresses to cirrhosis,” explained the Mayo Clinic.

NAFLD has been linked to a range of chronic disease markers, however.

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