Clinical update

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Your essential guide to signs, symptoms, treatment and the latest guidelines
Fatty liver

Essential facts

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an excess of fat in the liver that is not the result of excessive alcohol consumption or other secondary causes, such as hepatitis C. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, fatty liver – steatosis – affects between 20 and 30% of the population and its prevalence is increasing.

Incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is increasing. Picture: SPL

What’s new?

In July, NICE published guidance on the assessment and management of NAFLD. This includes recommendations on identifying NAFLD in high-risk groups and children and young people; lifestyle modifications, including physical activity, and diet; and pharmacological treatments, including pioglitazone and vitamin E.


Many of those with mild NAFLD are unlikely to notice any symptoms. Some may experience discomfort in the liver area and tiredness. Most people only find out they have a fatty liver


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