Fatty liver disease: Pain in back, abdomen, kidney or shoulder could be signs of spread

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Non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD) is a potentially life-threatening condition characterised by a build-up of fat in the liver. It is strongly tied to chronic disease markers, such as obesity and high blood sugar levels. Pain in these four body regions could indicate your risk.

The liver’s job is to detoxify and help flush out waste and convert food to nutritional products the body needs.

If the liver is being affected by any kind of disease, those processes aren’t being done efficiently.

That means that your body will react by showing signs of toxicity.


Associated symptoms of liver pain may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes
  • Dark, brownish urine
  • Swelling in the ankles or legs
  • Itchy skin
  • Loss of appetite

Sometimes pain felt in the same general area of the liver is actually caused by issues in the gallbladder, the pancreas, or the kidneys.

This is why it is integral to speak to your healthcare professional about the possible cause.

Reducing or abstaining from alcohol will also help to ease symptoms.

Fatty liver disease is still a relatively unknown condition with information regarding more about diseases of the liver, including what triggers them and how to best treat them are still being studied.

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Can I reduce my risk?

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

However, chronic disease markers have been tied to fatty liver disease risk.

According to the Mayo Clinic, these include:

Overweight or obesity

Insulin resistance, in which your cells don’t take up sugar in response to the hormone insulin

High blood sugar (hyperglycaemia), indicating prediabetes or type 2 diabetes

High levels of fats, particularly triglycerides, in the blood.

“These combined health problems appear to promote the deposit of fat in the liver,” explains the Mayo Clinic.

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