Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) includes a group of conditions in which there is excessive fat accumulation within the liver of people who consume no or little alcohol. The most common form of this disease is a non-serious condition known as fatty liver, in which fat accumulates inside the liver cells. Although having fat in the liver is not normal, the fat itself may not harm the liver. Among people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a small group may have a more serious condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, fat accumulation is associated with inflammation of liver cells and varying degrees of fibrosis. It can be a serious condition, capable of leading to extensive liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis develops when the liver suffers extensive damage and fibrous tissue gradually replaces the liver cells, leading to the liver’s inability to function properly. Some patients who develop cirrhosis may end up requiring a liver transplant.