Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is rapidly becoming the most common liver disease worldwide. The prevalence of NAFLD in the general population of Western countries is 20-30%. About 2-3% of the general population is estimated to have non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which may progress to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
NAFLD is a common cause of cirrhosis and a leading indication for a liver transplant.
The most important risk factors for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes. The prevalence of NAFLD is 80-90% in adults who are significantly over a healthy weight and 30-50% in patients with diabetes.
NAFLD is a hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome that includes central abdominal obesity along with other components. Up to 80% of patients with NAFLD are obese, defined as a body mass index (BMI) > 30 kg/m(2). Excess free fatty acids and chronic low-grade inflammation from abdominal fatty tissue are considered to be two of the most important factors contributing to liver injury progression in NAFLD.
The diagnosis of primary NAFLD involves establishing the presence of hepatic steatosis or steatohepatitis by imaging or histology, along with establishing the non-alcoholic nature of the disease process and excluding causes for hepatic steatosis.
Most NAFLD patients are asymptomatic on clinical presentation, even though some may present with fatigue, dyspepsia, dull pain in the liver and hepatosplenomegaly
The first line treatment for NAFLD is weight loss. Studies showed that even 7-10% weight loss has a significant histological improvement of liver disease.
Weight loss must be achieved through the correction of all the underlying metabolic dysregulation most importantly insulin resistance. This is why weight loss needs to be combined with increasing exercise and lifestyle change.
Fatty liver and obesity are both manifestations of an abnormal metabolism. Your specialists at HealthyWeight Australia targets and treats all underlying metabolic dysregulation associated with obesity with marked improvement in fatty liver disease observed.