Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects a third of the world’s population and its rapid rise parallels the increase in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). NAFLD replacing hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection as a leading indicator for liver transplantation (LT) in the United States. NAFLD is a spectrum of disease ranging from simple steatosis (NAFL) to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which can progress to advanced fibrosis (AF) and cirrhosis, culminating in HCC. The main clinical concern of public health administrators is that many patients who are unaware of NAFLD remain undiagnosed and risk developing end-stage liver disease (ESLD). Clinicians overly rely on surrogate liver enzymes to identify patients with NAFLD, allowing for substantial liver disease to go unnoticed and untreated. Furthermore, according to epidemiological studies, in patients diagnosed with NAFLD, ethnicity plays a role in complications and treatment response, and ethnic correlations with NAFLD are thoroughly underreported. Although liver biopsy is the gold standard method for appropriately diagnosing and staging NAFLD, most patients can be effectively diagnosed non-invasively with imaging modalities and integrated tests that are routinely available in the clinic today. This chapter discusses the current global rise in the rates of NAFLD and HCC; the current key findings incidences and the recommended diagnostic approaches and in therapeutic methods.
Part of the book: Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease