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JAMA Patient Page
November 12, 2019

Testing for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of California, Los Angeles
  • 2Deputy Editor, JAMA
JAMA. 2019;322(18):1836. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.10696

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) refers to fatty accumulation and inflammation of the liver that affects people who drink little to no alcohol.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) describes fatty accumulation and inflammation in liver cells from any cause other than alcohol use. Over time, this liver inflammation can progress to more severe liver function disturbances, called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is the accumulation of fat in the liver that then causes fibrosis (scarring) of the liver, which can lead to cirrhosis when scar tissue replaces liver cells, causing the liver to stop functioning normally. If severe enough, cirrhosis can lead to death.