Fatty liver disease: Swollen legs could signal ‘advanced stage’ of liver scarring

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease details a range of conditions that have one thing in common – the buildup of fat in your liver. The early stages of fatty liver usually cause no problems. But problems can arise as the disease progresses. Here’s a sign that might help you spot it.

If your liver is healthy, it should contain only a small amount of fat.

When the fat reaches 5 to 10 percent of the organ’s weight, it becomes a “problem,” reports the Cleveland Clinic.

Having a fatty liver also increases your risk of other serious health problems, ranging from diabetes to high blood pressure.

The good news is that early detection and treatment can help prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) from getting worse, says the NHS.

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As this condition usually does not trigger symptoms in the early stages, it can be difficult to spot.

At first, patients usually don’t know they have it unless they are tested for another reason.

However, more advanced stages of fatty liver can cause some symptoms.

This includes swollen legs, according to the Cleveland Clinic.


Before reaching cirrhosis, there are three earlier stages which include non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and fibrosis.

According to the NHS, people in these stages may experience the following symptoms:

  • Dull or aching pain in the upper right of the belly
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness.

The health service shares that the most “important” part of preventing the disease from getting worse is lifestyle changes.

So everything from a healthy diet to exercise could help reduce the amount of fat in your liver.

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