Metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD), previously known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is a common liver condition affecting about a quarter of the global population. It is also called metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD).
This disease is mainly characterized by an accumulation of fat in the liver cells, which is not caused by heavy alcohol use. People with MAFLD often have other health issues like obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides. The disease can progress from a simple fatty liver to more severe forms, leading to inflammation, scarring (cirrhosis), and even liver cancer if not managed properly.
Diagnosing MAFLD involves checking for fat in the liver along with other factors like being overweight or having type 2 diabetes or metabolic abnormalities like high blood pressure or abnormal blood lipids. The condition can exist alongside other liver diseases, such as those caused by alcohol, viruses, or autoimmune disorders.
To manage MAFLD, it's important to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, follow a balanced diet (like the Mediterranean Diet), and reduce risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. Quitting smoking is also beneficial. Identifying and treating MAFLD early can prevent it from becoming more serious and life-threatening.
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