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How is fatty liver disease diagnosed?

A person who is obese and has the metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes probably also has fatty liver.

The colour of a healthy liver is deep red, whilst a fatty liver is pale and spotty.

In the fatty liver disease, the ALT, AST or GTT blood tests measuring liver enzymes can be within the reference range or high, typically 2–3 times the normal level at the maximum. Usually, other “liver tests” yield normal results.

If the blood tests reveal significantly high liver levels, further examinations are required to discover the cause. Other reasons for high levels include viral infections, autoimmune diseases and the harmful effects of some drug ingredients or natural products on the liver.

Typically, further examination includes an ultrasound scan of the upper abdomen, where fatty liver provides a typical finding.

Updated 30.9.2023