Fatty liver disease occurs when the liver has trouble breaking down fats, causing fat to build up in the liver tissue. Some root causes of this disease include:

* Medications
* Viral hepatitis
* Autoimmune or inherited liver disease
* Fast weight loss
* Malnutrition

There are a number of risk factors that increase your chances of having NAFLD; they include:

* Obesity
* Gastric bypass surgery
* High cholesterol
* High levels of triglycerides in the blood
* Type 2 diabetes
* Metabolic syndrome
* Sleep apnea
* Polycystic ovary syndrome
* Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
* Underactive pituitary gland (hypopituitarism)

According to a study conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, obesity is associated with an increased risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. A major feature of NAFLD, called steatosis, occurs when the rate of hepatic fatty acid uptake from plasma and fatty acid synthesis is greater than the rate of fatty acid oxidation and export. This metabolic imbalance is a significant factor responsible for the formation of NAFLD.

A 2006 review published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology states that NAFLD is extremely common among patients undergoing bariatric surgery, ranging from 84 percent to 96 percent. The review also noted that the disease seems to be most common among men, and it increases with older age and after menopause in women.

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