Fatty liver disease linked to type 2 diabetes

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition characterized by an accumulation of fat in the liver, is associated with an increased risk for ‌‌‌type 2 diabetes, according to new research.

A Japanese study found that an improvement in this type of liver disease over a 10-year period could reduce diabetes risk, but that the two conditions are closely related and should therefore be more accurately monitored by medical professionals.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease increased risk of type 2 diabetes

More than 3,000 patients who did not have hepatitis A or B and also did not have diabetes were part of the study. These participants also didn't consume excessive amounts of alcohol.

About 24 percent of the participants were found to have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and, after about 11 years, 16.1 percent of these patients had developed type 2 diabetes – compared with 3.1 percent of the patients who didn't have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

In terms of improvement rates, 110 patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease showed improvement during follow-up tests, but the other 618 did not.

The liver plays a crucial role in glucose control

The study, which is the longest and largest trial to show a link between type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease, sheds light on the fact that the liver plays a crucial role in glucose control, the researchers said.

"The clinical message is that it is important to reduce fatty liver to prevent diabetes," the team told Medscape.

According to the Mayo Clinic, risk factors for fatty liver disease include high cholesterol, gastric bypass surgery, metabolic syndrome, obesity, sleep apnea and high levels of blood triglycerides.

Source: Medscape
Photo credit: Getideaka/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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