Jo10 - The Answer is YES! Hepatic steatosis, commonly called "fatty changes" in the liver, may be caused by either excess alcohol intake or by non-alcoholic causes. The diagnosis is may be made on the microscopic findings of liver tissue, either from a small (needle) biopsy or at the autopsy. Hepatic steatosis is a disease of the liver that is also known as fatty liver or fatty liver disease. It strikes approximately twenty percent of the adult population in the United States. It consists of fatty deposits that form in the liver. Although not a serious illness in itself, it can lead to complications that are more serious, including cancer, fibrosis, and cirrhosis of the liver, and so requires monitoring and care. Hepatic steatosis as such is asymptomatic. It can usually be treated with diet and exercise, as well as with reduced or eliminated consumption of alcoholic beverages where that is a factor. The 4 bottles per week of alcohol that you report drinking is too small to be the cause.
Hepatic steatosis comes in two distinct forms that are called alcohol-related and non-alcoholic steatosis. The distinction, obviously enough, lies in what causes the condition; alcohol-related steatosis is caused by excessive consumption of alcohol. The progression of the two forms of steatosis and the potential complications are identical. However, the treatment is different, as it would not be of great value to reduce alcohol consumption in case of non-alcoholic steatosis, and so the focus is on other lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and weight control.
Other than excessive alcohol consumption, hepatic steatosis is associated with obesity, diabetes, and early stages of various liver diseases. The latter association is the main reason why fatty liver is of concern to doctors. The disease itself rarely has symptoms. It is revealed by medical imaging such as ultrasound or MRI, which shows the deposits of fat residing in the liver.