Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

  • Melissa PalmerEmail author
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease worldwide. With the current obesity epidemic, its prevalence is increasing among both adults and children at an alarming rate. NAFLD occurs in individuals who do not drink excessive alcohol, yet have hepatic histology that mimics alcoholic liver disease. NAFLD is often associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus, central obesity, dyslipemia, and/or hypertension—conditions which comprise the metabolic syndrome. The spectrum of NAFLD ranges from simple steatosis, which is typically nonprogressive, to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which may progress to cirrhosis and its complications. Patients are usually asymptomatic, and histologic evaluation via liver biopsy is the gold standard for both diagnosing NAFLD and differentiating between simple steatosis and NASH. Patients with simple steatosis typically have a benign, nonprogressive disease course, while people with NASH have a progressive disease course, with an estimated 20 % advancing to cirrhosis. While clinical trials of numerous medications have been performed, there are currently no pharmacological agents approved for treatment. Management includes lifestyle modification comprising weight reduction, nutritional alterations, and exercise, in addition to aggressive treatment of other components of the metabolic syndrome.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease NAFLD Steatosis Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis NASH Obesity Insulin resistance Cirrhosis Metabolic syndrome NAFLD Activity Score (NAS) 



American Association for the Study of Liver Disease


Alanine aminotransferase


Aspartate aminotransferase


Body mass index




Diabetes mellitus


Gamma-glutamyl transferase


Glycemic index


Hepatocellular carcinoma


High-density lipoproteins


High-density lipoprotein cholesterol


High-fructose corn syrup




Intrahepatic triglyceride content


Mechanism of action


Magnetic resonance imaging


Monounsaturated fatty acids


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease


NAFLD Activity Score


Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis


Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey


Patatin-like phospholipase 3 gene


Saturated fatty acids


Single-nucleotide polymorphism


United States


Very-low-density lipoproteins


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NYU Langone Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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