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Between ten and 20 percent of chronic heavy drinkers have clinically established alcoholic fatty liver disease. Experts believe nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is more common because this ailment is often reversible with a few lifestyle changes. The signs and symptoms of the disease are easily disregarded or attributed to something else once they manifest. Due in part to the challenge in diagnosing fatty liver disease, researchers are still uncertain what causes it.

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1. Hypertriglyceridemia

High triglycerides are one of the most common signs of fatty liver disease. Normally, these lipids are stored in fat cells and used for energy. When there is too much fat in the blood, it is not metabolized properly; the body stores the excess in the liver, which leads to fatty liver disease. Plasma triglycerides greater than 200 mg/dL fall in the high range, while a reading greater than 500 mg/dL is very high. As the causes of this disease are still unknown; however, some doctors believe that hypertriglyceridemia may be a risk factor rather than a symptom of the fatty liver disease.

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