Having small amounts of fat in your liver is normal, but too much can become a health problem. Too much fat in your liver can cause liver inflammation, which can damage your liver and create scarring. In severe cases, this scarring can lead to liver failure.


About one in 10 Australians are affected by this condition – it's the most common reason for abnormal liver test results. Fatty liver disease is often caused by an excessive alcohol intake, but it is increasingly being found in people who do not drink to excess, but who are overweight or obese, or have diabetes.

When fatty liver develops in someone who drinks a lot of alcohol, it’s known as alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD). In someone who doesn’t drink a lot of alcohol, it’s known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). 

Fatty liver disease is an accumulation of fat in the liver. It can lead to serious complications such as cirrhosis. It is one of the most common liver diseases in Australia and a common reason for abnormal liver tests and ultrasound results.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common disorder that now affects up to one-third of the adult population. It is increasingly common in children.

Increasing age, obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes are risk factors. Less common causes can include pregnancy, some medications (e.g. corticosteroids) and other diseases.

Excess liver fat is associated with an increased risk of developing liver cirrhosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular events or specific cancers. The good news is that fatty liver is reversible.