NAFLD and Extra-Hepatic Comorbidities: Current Evidence on a Multi-Organ Metabolic Syndrome

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Sep 14;16(18):3415. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16183415.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease worldwide and its incidence is definitely increasing. NAFLD is a metabolic disease with extensive multi-organ involvement, whose extra-hepatic manifestations include type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, obstructive sleep apnea, chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Recently, further evidence has given attention to pathological correlations not strictly related to metabolic disease, also incorporating in this broad spectrum of systemic involvement hypothyroidism, psoriasis, male sexual dysfunction, periodontitis, and urolithiasis. The most common cause of mortality in NAFLD is represented by cardiovascular disease, followed by liver-related complications. Therefore, clinicians should learn to screen and initiate treatment for these extra-hepatic manifestations, in order to provide appropriate multidisciplinary assessments and rigorous surveillance. This review evaluates the current evidence regarding extra-hepatic associations of NAFLD, focusing on the pathogenic hypothesis and the clinical implications.

Keywords: cardiovascular risk; comorbidities; metabolic syndrome; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / epidemiology*
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology
  • Periodontitis / epidemiology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Psoriasis / epidemiology
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Urolithiasis / epidemiology