1 Tenova Cleveland Hospital, 2305 Chambliss Ave NW, Cleveland, TN, 37311, USA.
2 Division of Transplant Surgery, Department of Surgery, Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis, TN, 38139, USA.
3 Division of Hepatology and Sandra Atlas Bass Center for Liver Diseases, Northwell Health, Manhasset, NY, 11030, USA.
The incidence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is continuing to rise worldwide, and it is estimated that this disquieting trend will continue for another 10-15 years before prevalence begins to decrease. NAFLD is the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome. As obesity, diabetes, and other lifestyle-related diseases continue to rise, the spectrum of NAFLD, e.g., nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, liver fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, liver-related morbidity, and mortality, will increase in parallel. Its widespread prevalence and associated economic burden have drawn significant attention, and a multitude of pharmaceutical companies are participating in active research trying to find a "cure". Unfortunately, as of now, no targeted treatment exists to treat this condition, and therefore, emphasis has been on its prevention. The current review focuses on the epidemiology, clinical characteristics, risk factors, and clinical outcomes of NAFLD in Western countries. It is important to understand the magnitude of NAFLD and its risk factors in Western countries where the prevalence of NAFLD has now reached epidemic proportions to identify the best strategy to prevent and possibly control this epidemic.