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Fatty liver disease: A threat to the heart?

August 1, 2021

Excess weight can lead to fat buildup in the liver, a condition linked to greater cardiovascular risk.

About one person in four has an often-symptomless condition marked by a buildup of fat inside the liver, called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Like diabetes, this metabolic disorder is closely linked to obesity, especially excess weight around the middle of the body.

The strongest predictor of fatty liver disease is having type 2 diabetes, and both diseases are closely linked to cardiovascular disease. But obesity usually underlies and connects all these problems together, says Dr. Michelle Lai, a hepatologist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

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