Geographical similarity and differences in the burden and genetic predisposition of NAFLD

Hepatology. 2022 Sep 5. doi: 10.1002/hep.32774. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

NAFLD has become a major public health problem for more than 2 decades with a growing prevalence in parallel with the epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D). The disease burden of NAFLD differs across geographical regions and ethnicities. Variations in prevalence of metabolic diseases, extent of urban-rural divide, dietary habits, lifestyles, and the prevalence of NAFLD risk and protective alleles can contribute to such differences. The rise in NAFLD has led to a remarkable increase in the number of cases of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatic decompensation, and liver-related mortality related to NAFLD. Moreover, NAFLD is associated with multiple extrahepatic manifestations. Most of them are risk factors for the progression of liver fibrosis and thus worsen the prognosis of NAFLD. All these comorbidities and complications affect the quality of life in subjects with NAFLD. Given the huge and growing size of the population with NAFLD, it is expected that patients, healthcare systems, and the economy will suffer from the ongoing burden related to NAFLD. In this review, we examine the disease burden of NAFLD across geographical areas and ethnicities, together with the distribution of some well-known genetic variants for NAFLD. We also describe some special populations including patients with T2D, lean patients, the pediatric population, and patients with concomitant liver diseases. We discuss extrahepatic outcomes, patient-reported outcomes, and economic burden related to NAFLD.

Publication types

  • Review