Typically, there are few or no symptoms of early-stage fatty liver disease. If you do experience symptoms, you may feel tired or have discomfort in the upper-right part of your abdomen. As the disease progresses, you can develop jaundice (yellowing of your skin and eyes), abdominal swelling, and internal bleeding. If you develop cirrhosis (severe liver scarring) from fatty liver disease, you are at risk for liver cancer and other serious liver problems.
Fatty liver disease -- also called hepatic steatosis -- occurs when too much fat accumulates in your liver. This can be due to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, medications, genetic conditions, autoimmune diseases, or from drinking too much alcohol. If left untreated, fatty liver disease can progress and cause severe liver problems including cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure. Duke liver specialists help you manage fatty liver disease before it progresses and recommend the most effective treatment if liver damage is diagnosed.
Stages of Fatty Liver Disease
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Why Choose Duke
As recognized leaders in liver disease research and treatment, we strive to improve care for people with liver disease. We are at the forefront of developing and implementing non-invasive tests to replace or supplement liver biopsy and are working to make it easier for you to receive the specialized care you need.
Large Liver Transplant Program
If your liver disease progresses to the point where a liver transplant may be an option, we have one of the best and highest volume liver transplant programs in the country. We maintain outstanding survival rates for people who need a liver transplant.
Safer Imaging Options
We offer wider and shorter MRI machines so you will be more comfortable during imaging. Our CT scans are equipped with the highest quality imaging and require a lower radiation dose, which minimizes your exposure to radiation. Our abdominal imaging radiologists have special expertise in liver imaging.
Access to Clinical Trials
As a Duke Health patient, you may be eligible to participate in our ongoing clinical trials, which test new therapies before they become available elsewhere.
Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our gastroenterology and GI surgery program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.