Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in South Asians: A review of the literature

Sital Singh, Gabriela N. Kuftinec, Souvik Sarkar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are national and global epidemics. The disease is characterized by a spectrum of liver steatosis (fat deposition), inflammation (in NASH) and fibrosis. NAFLD and specifically NASH can lead to cirrhosis, which carry risks of progression to portal hypertension and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). NASH is also associated with higher mortality from cardiovascular causes. Most of the data for NAFLD has been obtained from the perspective of developed nations, although the disease is increasing and threatening to reach epidemic proportions across the world. Emerging data is notable for high prevalence of NAFLD in South Asian popula-tions, presumably resulting from a combination of underlying genetic polymorphisms and changes in socio-economic sta-tus. It is also notable that an ‘Asian Paradox’ has been defined for NAFLD based upon the observation of lower than pre-defined body mass index (BMI), otherwise termed as “lean NAFLD”, among this population. Yet, data remains limited in regards to the characteristics of NAFLD/NASH in this popula-tion. In this article, we present a review of the literature and discuss the prevalence, associated risk factors and burden of HCC in South Asians with NAFLD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-81
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
  • South Asia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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