Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease ups risk of diabetes mellitus
In nonobese adults, the presence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) signals a higher risk for eventual diabetes mellitus (DM) regardless of metabolic syndrome, a recent study has shown.
The study included 2,920 adults who self-referred for a routine health check-up from January to December 2000. Ultrasonography was performed to determine NAFLD status, and Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to evaluate the risk of hypertension and DM incidence according to participant phenotypes.
Over a median follow-up of 5.1 years, 193 participants developed DM, corresponding to a 6.9-percent incidence rate. Both NAFLD patients who were obese (hazard ratio [HR], 2.89; 95 percent CI, 1.73–4.83; p<0.001) and nonobese (HR, 2.69; 1.72–4.20; p<0.001) had significantly elevated risks of DM.
In addition, DM was significantly more likely in obese participants without NAFLD (HR, 1.92; 1.10–3.36; p=0.022).
In 2,757 participants, 445 developed hypertension over the same follow-up period, resulting in an incidence rate of 16.1 percent. Fully adjusted analysis showed that obese participants with NAFLD had a significantly higher risk of hypertension than their nonobese, non-NAFLD counterparts (HR, 1.76; 1.27–2.44; p=0.001).
The findings of the present study show that NAFLD is a particularly sensitive indicator of potential insulin resistance, said researchers, noting that patients with the condition may benefit from regular screening.
“Screening may provide the opportunity to address insulin resistance early, with lifestyle modification and medical interventions to reduce the risk of progression to DM,” they added.