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J Pak Med Assoc. 2013 Jan;63(1):95-9.

Are we ready for a new epidemic of under recognized liver disease in South Asia especially in Pakistan? Non alcoholic fatty liver disease.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Aga Khan University, Karachi.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasingly recognized as an important public health problem nowadays. NAFLD encompass a variety of liver pathologies including simple steatosis, NASH, fibrosis, cirrhosis and finally cancer. It is associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, dyslipidaemia, Insulin resistance (IR) and type 2 diabetes. It is the most common chronic liver disease in USA and considered to be increasing in Asia Pacific region including South Asia however there is no community based study from Pakistan. Customarily NAFLD had been regarded as a benign disease; however clinical as well as epidemiological studies had contradicted this belief because approximately 20% of the patients with NAFLD had NASH which has propensity to develop cirrhosis and ultimately to HCC. The diagnosis of NAFLD is made most of the times incidentally on abdominal imaging which is done for other purposes. Despite its prevalence, treatment options are very limited. However modification of risk factors such as dyslipidemia, diabetes control and weight reduction does help in NAFLD. Fatty liver results due to lack of physical activity; hence foremost step to manage such patients would be to develop the healthy life style. We need population based studies in our country so that we can protect our population from a new epidemic.

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