Background and aim: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common cause of chronic liver disease and liver transplantation in western countries. Increasing incidence of NAFLD has been well documented from Asian countries like Japan and China. Diabetes mellitus (DM), obesity, hyperinsulinemia are predisposing factors for NAFLD. There is increase in incidence of DM, obesity and insulin resistance in India in last two decades. Hence it is logical to expect increase in incidence of NAFLD in India. There is limited data on the prevalence of NAFLD from India. Majority of data comes from hospital based studies including small number of patients. Therefore this study was planned to estimate the prevalence of NAFLD in general population.
Material and methods: Residents of two Railway colonies were evaluated on history, clinical examination, anthropometric measurements, biochemical tests and abdominal ultrasound.
Results: 1,168 participants were evaluated. Persons with any amount of alcohol consumption, HBs Ag positive, Anti HCV positive, persons with other known liver diseases and taking medications causing liver disease were excluded. Prevalence of NAFLD on ultrasound was 16.6%. Out of 730 subjects above the age of 20 years (341 male 384 female 389) mean age 39.08 +/- 12.3 years, 4% had diabetes, 57% had central obesity. Prevalence of NAFLD based on the ultrasound above 20 years of age was 18.9%. NAFLD was more prevalent in male than female (24.6% vs 13.6%, p < 0.001). Risk factors associated with NAFLD were age more than 40 years, male gender, central obesity, high BMR > 25, elevated fasting blood sugar, raised AST and ALT.
Conclusion: Prevalence of NAFLD in Indian population is comparable to the west.