Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) encompasses the simple steatosis to more progressive steatosis with associated hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and in some cases hepatocellular carcinoma. NAFLD is a growing epidemic, not only in the United States, but worldwide in part due to obesity and insulin resistance leading to liver accumulation of triglycerides and free fatty acids. Numerous risk factors for the development of NAFLD have been espoused with most having some form of metabolic derangement or insulin resistance at the core of its pathophysiology. NAFLD patients are at increased risk of liver-related as well as cardiovascular mortality, and NAFLD is rapidly becoming the leading indication for liver transplantation. Liver biopsy remains the gold standard for definitive diagnosis, but the development of noninvasive advanced imaging, biochemical and genetic tests will no doubt provide future clinicians with a great deal of information and opportunity for enhanced understanding of the pathogenesis and targeted treatment. As it currently stands several medications/supplements are being used in the treatment of NAFLD; however, none seem to be the "magic bullet" in curtailing this growing problem yet. In this review we summarized the current knowledge of NAFLD epidemiology, risk factors, diagnosis, pathogenesis, pathologic changes, natural history, and treatment in order to aid in further understanding this disease and better managing NAFLD patients.
Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma; Metabolic syndrome; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Steatohepatitis; Steatosis.