Journal of Clinical Medicine (2021-01-01)

NAFLD and Cardiovascular Diseases: Epidemiological, Mechanistic and Therapeutic Considerations

  • David Niederseer,
  • Bernhard Wernly,
  • Elmar Aigner,
  • Felix Stickel,
  • Christian Datz

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 467
p. 467


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Overwhelming evidence suggests an association of cardiovascular disease (CVD) with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); however, the underlying mechanisms remain largely speculative. It is, however, likely that common mechanisms contribute to the development of CVD and NAFLD, with lifestyle factors such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle with poor nutrition habits and physical inactivity being major candidates. These behavioral factors, on a predisposing genetic background, trigger changes in gut microbiota, inflammation, dyslipidemia and oxidative stress, leading to metabolic syndrome, diabetes and obesity as well as atherosclerosis. Treatment options to counteract both the progression and development of CVD and NAFLD include lifestyle interventions, optimal medical therapy of comorbid conditions and, as final possibility, bariatric surgery. As no causal pharmacotherapy of NAFLD is available, further research is urgently needed to address the unmet need of a growing population with NAFLD and CVD.