Better cardiovascular health tied to lower risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Increasing cardiovascular health is associated with a lower risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a new study has shown.
Researchers followed 3,424 adults (mean age 57.3±8.8 years; 73.9 percent female) with no baseline NAFLD for 5 years for the development of the disease. Cardiovascular health metrics included smoking, body mass index (BMI) blood pressure, total cholesterol, fasting glucose and physical activity.
A total of 649 participants (19.0 percent) developed NAFLD, among whom unfavourable baseline metabolic risk profiles were more common. For instance, only 41.5 percent of these participants had ideal baseline BMI, as opposed to 67.4 percent in the group who did not develop NAFLD (p<0.01).
After adjusting for sociodemographic variables, lifestyle behaviours and clinical factors, having ideal BMI at baseline was associated with a significantly lower risk of NAFLD development (odds ratio [OR], 0.40; 95 percent CI, 0.33–0.48). Ideal blood pressure at baseline had the same effect (OR, 0.73; 0.55–0.98).
Moreover, NAFLD risk progressively dropped as the number of ideal cardiovascular metrics at baseline increased (reference: 0–2 ideal metrics; 3–4 metrics: OR, 0.50; 0.41–0.61; 5–6 metrics: OR, 0.34; 0.22–0.51).
At the 5-year follow-up, cardiovascular health deteriorated in 1,373 participants, such that the mean number of ideal metrics dropped from 3.56±1.01 at baseline to 2.23±0.95 at follow-up. Compared to these patients, those whose cardiovascular health was stable (n=1,170; OR, 0.61; 0.49–0.76) or improved (OR, 0.29; 0.21–0.39) showed significantly lower risks of NAFLD development.