NAFLD is the leading cause of chronic liver disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasingly common worldwide and has become the first cause of chronic liver disease. It is characterized by excessive accumulation of fat in the liver, associated with insulin resistance. NAFLD is defined by evidence of steatosis in ≥5% of hepatocytes according to histological analysis or imaging in the absence of secondary causes of hepatic fat accumulation such as significant alcohol consumption (daily consumption ≥30 g for men and ≥20 g for women, or >21 standard drinks on average per week in men and >14 standard drinks on average per week in women).

NASH covers a wide spectrum of disease severity

NAFLD can be subdivided into non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Whereas NAFL (or steatosis) is defined as hepatic fat content of ≥5% of liver weight or ≥5% fat-loaded hepatocytes with no evidence of hepatocellular injury (ballooning) or fibrosis, NASH is characterized by hepatic steatosis ≥5%, inflammation and ballooned hepatocytes, with or without the presence of hepatic fibrosis.. NASH thereby covers a wide spectrum of disease severity in individuals without significant alcohol consumption and without other causes of secondary steatosis. NASH can progress to cirrhosis, liver failure and, more rarely, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


  1.  Younossi Z, Tacke F, Arrese M, et al. Global perspectives on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Hepatology. 2018; Sep 4 [Epub ahead of print]
  2.  EASL-EASD-EASO Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. J Hepatol. 2016;64:1388-402
  3.  Chalasani N, Younossi Z, Lavine JE, et al. The diagnosis and management of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: Practice guidance from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Hepatology. 2018;67:328-57
  4.  Stefan N, Häring HU, Cusi K. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: causes, diagnosis, cardiometabolic consequences, and treatment strategies. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2018; Aug 30 [Epub ahead of print]
  5.  Younossi ZM, Koenig AB, Abdelatif D, Fazel Y, Henry L, Wymer M. Global epidemiology of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease – Meta-analytic assessment of prevalence, incidence, and outcomes. Hepatology. 2016;64:73-84
  6. Anderson EL, Howe LD, Jones HE, Higgins JP, Lawlor DA, Fraser A. The prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2015;10:e0140908