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Original Article

IJMDC. 2021; 5(3): 899-905

Awareness of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is low in the general population of Saudi Arabia

Emad S. Aljahdli, Hind I. Fallatah, Alya S. Alharbi, Shoruq A. Alwagdani, Manar A. Makin.


Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common liver diseases worldwide. Despite the increasing prevalence of NAFLD and its related complications, there is inadequate awareness about the disease among the general population. The objective of this study was to assess the knowledge and awareness of NAFLD in Saudi Arabia, where NAFLD prevalence is high.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed through an online survey in a sample of the adult Saudi population. The questionnaire included items on participantsÂ’ characteristics and their knowledge regarding liver cirrhosis, fatty liver, and NAFLD.
Results: Among the participants, 11.3% reported that their doctors had mentioned fatty liver, 33.1% knew about NAFLD prior to the survey, and 91.9% had already heard about cirrhosis. Most (76.2% and 77.8%, respectively) thought that alcohol intake and Hepatitis B and C could advance to cirrhosis. Most of the participants (87.2%) thought that obesity could cause fatty liver and 53.7% thought that doctors could diagnose fatty liver through a sonogram. Only 7% had good knowledge of fatty liver. Participants with a university education, with Saudi nationality, and with previous knowledge of NAFLD and cirrhosis formed a significantly higher percentage of those who had a fair knowledge regarding fatty liver. Participants with higher education formed a significantly higher percentage of those having good knowledge.
Conclusion: There is a need for educational interventions to increase the awareness of NAFLD, especially in high-risk individuals, for effective prevention, early recognition, and treatment.

Key words: Awareness, non-alcoholic, fatty, liver, steatosis, steatohepatitis, population, Saudi.

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