Metabolic disease and the liver: A review

World J Hepatol. 2024 Jan 27;16(1):33-40. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v16.i1.33.


Metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD) is the most common liver disease worldwide, with an estimated prevalence of 31% in Latin America. The presence of metabolic comorbidities coexisting with liver disease varies substantially among populations. It is acknowledged that obesity is boosting the type 2 diabetes mellitus "epidemic," and both conditions are significant contributors to the increasing number of patients with MASLD. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis represents a condition of chronic liver inflammation and is considered the most severe form of MASLD. MASLD diagnosis is based on the presence of steatosis, noninvasive scores and altered liver tests. Noninvasive scores of liver fibrosis, such as serum biomarkers, which should be used in primary care to rule out advanced fibrosis, are simple, inexpensive, and widely available. Currently, guidelines from international hepatology societies recommend using noninvasive strategies to simplify case finding and management of high-risk patients with MASLD in clinical practice. Unfortunately, there is no definite pharmacological treatment for the condition. Creating public health policies to treat patients with risk factors for MASLD prevention is essential.

Keywords: Liver; Metabolic risk; Metabolism; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Primary care.

Publication types

  • Review