Detection And Management Of The Fatty Liver Epidemic In General Practice And When To Refer (VHHITAL)

Detection and Management of the Fatty Liver Epidemic in General Practice and when to refer (VHHITAL)


The 2011–13 Australian Health Survey results have highlighted the growing problem of obesity in Australia. It is estimated that 62.8% of Australian adults are now overweight or obese, with this figure increasing over the past two decades.

Excess body fat is recognised as a risk factor for liver disease. In 2011–12, people who were obese were around four times more likely than those who were of normal weight or underweight to have abnormal ALT levels (19.5% compared with 4.6%). Likewise, around one in five (21.6%) people who were obese had abnormal GGT compared with only 6.0% who were of normal weight or underweight.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is increasingly common, and will have a significant impact on morbidity and mortality on a growing number of Australians.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), encompassing both simple steatosis and non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis (NASH), is the most common cause of liver disease in Australia. GP s need to consider non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in the context of the metabolic syndrome, as cardiovascular disease will account for much of the mortality associated with NAFLD.

It is very common, affecting about 30% of the population with the majority cases seen between ages 40 and 60 but it is becoming more common in younger age groups.

Mortality is mostly due to cardiovascular disease rather than end stage liver disease.

General practitioners are vital in identifying patients at risk of NAFLD, and encouraging initiation and maintenance of appropriate lifestyle changes.

Weight reduction via caloric restriction and regular exercise are important, and no medications can currently be recommended as specific therapy.


  1. Identify and manage patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and monitor for future complications
  2. Discuss treatment options for fatty liver
Detection and Management of the Fatty Liver Epidemic in General Practice and when to refer (VHHITAL)
  • Presenter(s):Marno Ryan
  • Host:VHHITAL
  • Duration:35.09 min
  • Activity ID:161407
  • QI&CPD Points:1
  • Provider:Melbourne Primary Care Network

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