Causes and risk factors of the Fatty Liver Disease

Reading time: 1 min

There are many causes of fat accumulation in the liver.

Pie, meat and sausage

The most common cause is a diet rich in fat and sugar that promotes the formation of fat (a process known as lipid synthesis) and exceeds the liver's ability to eliminate it.

The main risk factors for suffering fatty liver disease are:


Metabolic syndrome, which is a set of risk factors that predispose to heart disease: diabetes, high cholesterol and excess sugar, for example.

These factors promote excess lipid synthesis and its transfer from adipose tissue (tissue where fat is stored) to the liver, making elimination difficult.

For this reason, the prevalence of the disease among patients with obesity or diabetes is 60-80%. The disease, however, also occurs in people without these risk factors and, in these cases, it is usually due to genetic causes. People affected by this genetic variant have a tendency to synthesise lipids or decrease their metabolism (processing); thus reducing their elimination and increasing accumulation.

The best way to prevent the disease is to follow a balanced diet and not be overweight or obese. Once the disease appears, weight loss and optimal control of metabolic risk factors (e.g. cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes) will promote its improvement and help prevent rapid progression.

Substantiated information by:

Isabel Graupera Garcia-Milà
Marta Cervera Carbonell
Pere Ginès Gibert

Published: 19 August 2022
Updated: 26 August 2022

The donations that can be done through this webpage are exclusively for the benefit of Hospital Clínic of Barcelona through Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica and not for BBVA Foundation, entity that collaborates with the project of PortalClínic.


Receive the latest updates related to this content.

Thank you for subscribing!

If this is the first time you subscribe you will receive a confirmation email, check your inbox

An error occurred and we were unable to send your data, please try again later.