Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common liver disorder in Australia. It is an accumulation of excess fat in liver cells, taking up 5 to 10 percent of the entire organ. Typically, consuming too much alcohol is a primary cause of fat build-up in the liver, but those with NAFLD may not drink much alcohol at all. Approximately one in three Australians have the disease and according to gastroenterologist, Dr Harmeet Malhi, it is the leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Though it causes no permanent damage, NAFLD can progress to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which can result in cirrhosis (irreversible scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.
NAFLD is asymptomatic, meaning it usually has no physical symptoms. However, you should consult your doctor if you have any of the following risk factors. Doctors may use a variety of factors to diagnose the condition, such as blood tests, an abdominal ultrasound or scan or a liver biopsy.