Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is characterized by excessive fat accumulation in the liver (hepatic steatosis). Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is characterized by steatosis, liver cell injury, and inflammation. The mechanism of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is unknown but involves the development of insulin resistance, steatosis, inflammatory cytokines, and oxidative stress. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with physical inactivity, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Screening is not recommended in the general population. The diagnosis is usually made after an incidental discovery of unexplained elevation of liver enzyme levels or when steatosis is noted on imaging (e.g., ultrasonography). Patients are often asymptomatic and the physical examination is often unremarkable. No single laboratory test is diagnostic, but tests of liver function, tests for metabolic syndrome, and tests to exclude other causes of abnormal liver enzyme levels are routinely performed. Imaging studies, such as ultrasonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging, can assess hepatic fat, measure liver and spleen size, and exclude other diseases. Liver biopsy remains the criterion standard for the diagnosis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Noninvasive tests are available and may reduce the need for liver biopsy. A healthy diet, weight loss, and exercise are first-line therapeutic measures to reduce insulin resistance. There is insufficient evidence to support bariatric surgery, metformin, thiazolidinediones, bile acids, or antioxidant supplements for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The long-term prognosis is not associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, cancer, or liver disease.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||American family physician|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 1 2013|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Family Practice