By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Alcohol is a leading cause of damage to the liver but in many people who do not drink alcohol or drink very little there is a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
In this condition, there is an excessive amount of fat buildup in the liver. The condition has become far more commonplace as we have become less mobile as a society and the incidence of obesity has increased. In fact, it is now the most common liver disease in the US and the Framingham study found it occurs in 19% of men and 15% of women. What may be most disturbing is that this is a predictor of problems with adult onset diabetes years down the road.
We can detect fatty liver on ultrasound studies and blood tests often provide clues. Most experts who study the condition say that exercise and improved diet are the best ways to reverse the condition.