New Diagnostic Criteria for Metabolic Associated Fatty Liver Disease (MAFLD)

New Diagnostic Criteria for Metabolic Associated Fatty Liver Disease (MAFLD)

Metabolic Associated Fatty Liver Disease (MAFLD) is a common chronic liver disease that affects over one billion people worldwide. It is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver and can lead to serious complications such as cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer, and heart health issues. Previously known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the disease is now understood to be linked to metabolic factors such as obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes.

MAFLD is a complex disorder that can affect multiple organs and varies in its course and outcomes among individuals. While some may experience no symptoms, others may develop severe complications. The challenge in diagnosing MAFLD lies in its asymptomatic nature during the early stages, leading to delayed diagnosis that can span decades. Currently, there is no definitive single test to diagnosis MAFLD.

Early diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment, as it allows for interventions to prevent disease progression and the development of complications. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, adopting a healthy diet, and regular exercise have shown to improve liver function and reduce the risk of complications. However, treatment needs to be tailored to individual patients based on their disease severity, risk of complications, and treatment response.

To address these challenges, a group of international experts has developed a new set of diagnostic criteria for MAFLD that was published in the journal eGastroenterology. These criteria encompass all age groups and consider age-related factors, making them applicable to both children and adults. They have proven to be reliable and accurate in diagnosing MAFLD and identifying patients at high risk of developing complications.

The introduction of these new diagnostic criteria has sparked a positive momentum for change. It has increased awareness of MAFLD, paving the way for further research and clinical trials. Ultimately, these criteria represent a significant advancement in the diagnosis and treatment of MAFLD, offering hope for improved patient outcomes.

– Mohammed Eslam et al, Two years on, a perspective on MAFLD, eGastroenterology (2023). DOI: 10.1136/egastro-2023-100019

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