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28-05-2021 | Diabetes | News | Article

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Visceral obesity flags NAFL risk in type 1 diabetes

Eleanor McDermid

medwireNews: Visceral adipose tissue is strongly indicative of the presence of non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) in people with type 1 diabetes, but fat in other areas is not, show findings from the FinnDiane study.

Moreover, the researchers found that waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) “a simple and low-cost surrogate marker of visceral adipose tissue, is strongly associated with NAFL and could be used as a screening tool for NAFL in this population.”

The standard WHR cutoff of 0.5 was optimal for predicting NAFL risk, at a sensitivity of 86% and a specificity of 55%. Standard BMI cutoffs, by contrast, were poor predictors, with the optimal being 26.6 kg/m2, which was 79% sensitive and 57% specific.

As reported in Diabetes Care, the team studied 121 people, with a median age of 38.5 years, who had type 1 diabetes of an average 21.2 years’ duration.

The prevalence of NAFL was 11.6%, and that of visceral obesity was 50.4%, defined as a WHR of 0.5 or more. Each 1% increase in visceral adipose tissue was associated with a significant 4.6-fold increase in the odds for having NAFL, and this association remained significant after accounting for age, sex, diabetes duration, and levels of glycated hemoglobin and triglycerides.

By contrast, neither total body fat, nor appendicular or gynoid adipose fat were associated with NAFL, which Per-Henrik Groop (University of Helsinki, Finland) and co-researchers say “reflect[s] the different metabolic functions of the adipocytes in different adipose tissue compartments.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2021 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

Diabetes Care 2021; doi:10.2337/dc20-3175

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