What is the prevalence of fatty liver disease in the US?

Updated: Apr 12, 2018
  • Author: Emily Tommolino, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Steatosis affects approximately 25%-35% of the general population. Steatohepatitis may be related to alcohol-induced hepatic damage or may be unrelated to alcohol (ie, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis [NASH]). Approximately 17.6 million people in the United States abuse or depend on alcohol, with several million more who binge drink that may evolve into problems with alcohol over the long term. [90]

Fatty liver develops in 90%-100% of heavy alcohol users, [91, 92] but only about 10%-20% of chronic heavy drinkers develop clinically important alcoholic fatty liver disease (ALD) (eg, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis). [93] NASH has been detected in 1.2%-9% of patients undergoing routine liver biopsy. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is found in over 80% of patients who are obese, and more than 50% of patients undergoing bariatric surgery have NASH. [93]

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