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Am J Med Sci. 2005 Dec;330(6):326-35.

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and the metabolic syndrome.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Saint Louis University Liver Center, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Relatively recently, the liver has been recognized as a major target of injury in patients with insulin resistance or the metabolic syndrome. Insulin resistance is associated with fat accumulation in the liver, a condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Excess fat in the liver is not a benign condition. Some patients with NAFLD develop necroinflammatory changes in the liver called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and a fraction of those will develop cirrhosis. About 20% all adults have NAFLD and 2% to 3% of adults have NASH. Approximately 20% of patients with NASH are at risk for developing cirrhosis and subsequently dying from end-stage liver disease. The diagnosis of NASH requires a high index of suspicion, especially in obese patients over the age of 45 years who have diabetes, because these are the patients at greatest risk for developing cirrhosis. Treatment focuses on addressing the underlying insulin resistance with increased exercise and weight reduction.

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