Department of Gastroenterology, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne and Infectious Diseases Unit, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), encompassing both simple steatosis and non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis (NASH), is the most common cause of liver disease in Australia. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease needs to be considered in the context of the metabolic syndrome, as cardiovascular disease will account for much of the mortality associated with NAFLD.
To provide an approach to the identification of NAFLD in general practice, the distinction between simple steatosis and NASH, and the management of these two conditions.
Non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis is more common in the presence of diabetes, obesity, older age and increased inflammation, and is more likely to progress to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis may be complicated by hepatocellular carcinoma or liver failure. Hepatocellular carcinoma has also been described in NASH without cirrhosis. Assessment and treatment of features of the metabolic syndrome may reduce associated cardiovascular mortality. Numerous agents have been evaluated, but weight loss remains the only effective treatment for NAFLD.