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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 20 (2006), Issue 5, Pages 345-349
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2006/918262
Review

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Clinical Approach and Review

Maitreyi Raman and Johane Allard

University Health Network, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Received 20 December 2005; Accepted 20 December 2005

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of incidental elevation of liver enzymes in North America and Europe. Risk factors for NAFLD include body mass index of 25 kg/m2 or greater, central obesity and diabetes mellitus. The spectrum of disease is variable, ranging from simple steatosis with benign prognosis, to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and cirrhosis, conferring increase in morbidity and mortality. The primary abnormality or ‘first hit’ in patients with NAFLD is insulin resistance leading to hepatic steatosis. The second hit involves multiple proinflammatory cytokines resulting in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Treatment is aimed at aggressive risk factor control and weight loss. Currently, there are no pharmacological agents recommended in the treatment of NAFLD, although preliminary studies suggest promising agents in the future.