Who is most likely to develop nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) most typically develops in individuals who are overweight or obese or have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides. NAFLD is characterized by accumulation of fat in the liver that is not attributed to alcohol. As NAFLD progresses, the excessive fat accumulation (steatosis) can cause inflammation (steatohepatitis) and may lead to progressive fibrosis and cirrhosis, liver failure, primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) and even death.

Approximately one-third of NAFLD patients will develop NASH, a severe form of NAFLD with inflammation that is associated with increased risk for liver cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease and primary liver cancer.

People who are very overweight or obese are at increased risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, a condition in which people who drink little or no alcohol have an excessive amount of fat in their livers. Other risk factors for NAFLD include having a high blood cholesterol level, high triglyceride (blood fat) level and/or diabetes. Hispanic people are also at increased risk for NAFLD. Taking certain medications or having some rare metabolic conditions like those mentioned above can also make you more likely to develop NAFLD.         

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.