NAFLD increases risk for Type 2 diabetes
MedWire News: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an independent risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, suggest study results.
"Although fatty liver and insulin resistance are known to be associated, the relationship between the two in the development of Type 2 diabetes mellitus is unclear," explain Ki-Chul Sung (Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea) and Sun Kim (Stanford University School of Medicine, California, USA).
They assessed the 5-year risk for developing Type 2 diabetes in patients diagnosed with NAFLD using ultrasound.
In total, 11,091 Korean individuals were tested for insulin resistance and scanned for NAFLD at baseline. Of these, 27% (n=2971) had NAFLD, 47% of whom had a baseline insulin level in the highest quartile compared with only 17% of the 8120 individuals without NAFLD (controls).
Despite this, patients with NAFLD had significantly higher glucose and triglyceride levels and lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels than controls, independent of baseline insulin levels.
In addition, as reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the researchers found that patients with NAFLD had a significant increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes over the follow-up period compared with controls, regardless of baseline insulin level.
Specifically, those with NAFLD in the lowest and highest insulin quartiles at baseline had 5.05- and 6.34-fold increased risks for Type 2 diabetes, respectively, compared with controls. These associations remained valid even after adjustment for baseline glucose levels.
"Therefore, our findings suggest that fatty liver, although associated with insulin resistance, is also an independent predictor of Type 2 diabetes mellitus," conclude Sung and Kim.
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By Helen Albert