Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the term for a range of conditions caused by a build-up of fat in the liver. It may cause a persistent inflammation which causes scar tissue around the liver and nearby blood vessels and may lead to cirrhosis – the most severe stage of liver disease which can lead to liver failure.
A healthy liver should contain little or no fat. In early states, NAFLD starts as a harmless build-up of fat in the liver cells that may only be diagnosed during tests carried out for another reason. However, if it is not treated and it progresses, NAFLD can be a very serious disease.
Liver disease and obesity
NAFLD is usually seen in people who are overweight or have obesity, particularly those who have a lot of fat around the waist[i]. The most effective treatment for NAFLD is treatment of obesity.
For more information on liver disease please see the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL). More specific information on the relation between obesity and liver disease is available here.
[i] NHS (2017). Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Retrieved from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/fatty-liver-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx