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How Common Is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Or Is It A Rare Disease?

Fatty liver disease is a condition that you have fat buildup in your liver that can, over time, affect liver function and cause liver injury. Individuals who consume too much alcohol accumulate fat in their liver however this is quite different from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

In non-alcoholic fatty liver conditions, the fatty tissue slowly builds up in the liver when the individual’s diet pattern is not appreciable. The person’s diet exceeds the amount of fat their body can handle. The condition turns into a fatty liver when fat makes up 5% of the liver.

The Growing Epidemic of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

When we think about epidemics, the common diseases that strike our mind are cholera, chikungunya, and cholera, we do not even think about Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or perhaps it does not come to our mind at all. However, the collateral damage caused to the liver (fatty liver) is becoming the ever-growing list of health consequences due to poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is actually a spectrum of liver diseases that range from simple Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to potentially deadly forms such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), fibrosis, and cirrhosis. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to know which people with the simple form of fatty liver disease will progress to NASH, or how long it will take.1

How Common Is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Or Is It A Rare Disease?

How Common Is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Or Is It A Rare Disease?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a very common disorder and has become very common around the world, especially in Western nations. One of the major reasons for this condition is obesity. Several decades ago, obesity was not a common health problem however in the present scenario; statistics show that more than 50% of North Americans are obese or overweight.

When the individual is obese, he or she has around 75% chances of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The most common form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is fatty liver.

Fatty liver disease is divided into two types. When you have fat but no damage to the liver, then this condition is referred to as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. However, when the developed fat has signs of inflammation can result in liver damage, then it is non-alcoholic steatohepatitis also called NASH.

Major sedentary adults are affected by NAFLD and only small percentages (2%-5%) have NASH. Perhaps, this is one of the common forms of chronic liver disease in the United States and almost one-quarter of the population is affected with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.2

Symptoms Of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Possible signs and symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease include fatigue and pain in the right upper part of the abdomen. In major instances, it doesn’t show any symptoms. However, obese people when experience abdominal pain should seek medical attention.

Your healthcare provider will perform a physical examination and suggest you undergo clinical tests. Your reports reveal a slightly enlarged liver & spleen when you are affected with NAFLD. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects approximately 1 in 4 members of the general population. Due to its high prevalence, it is regarded as a major health problem across several countries.

Although NAFLD is non-aggressive with mild or no symptoms, NASH is a serious complication and leads to liver cirrhosis (a condition that results in permanent damage to the liver) and is commonly found in people who are middle-aged and overweight. The underlying factor for causing NASH is not known but the medical studies estimate that avoidance of fatty foods, maintain healthy weight, alcohol and increased physical activity will help keep the disease under control.3,4


While there are currently no approved medicines for the treatment of NASH, research is still in progress to evaluate the condition and provide suitable therapies.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 11, 2019

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