Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a very common cause of chronic liver disease in the United States. A large proportion of patients with NAFLD have coexisting metabolic syndrome, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A strong association between NAFLD and cardiovascular disease has been long suspected, and recent studies have confirmed that cardiovascular disease is the single most important cause of mortality in this patient population. NAFLD may pose cardiovascular risk beyond the risk conferred by traditional factors such as dyslipidemia, diabetes, and smoking. Health care providers managing patients with NAFLD should recognize this increased cardiovascular risk and should undertake early, aggressive risk factor modification.
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