Fifty-five percent of people worldwide who have type 2 diabetes also have NAFLD, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of Hepatology.
NAFLD is a buildup of fat in the liver that’s unrelated to the consumption of alcohol. The amount of fat buildup can help determine the extent of liver damage. Without treatment, NAFLD can progress to cirrhosis (chronic scarring and damage), liver failure and possibly liver cancer.
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Researchers looked at data from 80 studies worldwide published between 2003 and 2018 that included a total of 49,419 patients. They found that, on average, 55% of people with type 2 had NAFLD and 37% had nonalcholic steatohepatitis (NASH, or inflammation of the liver). In the United States, roughly 52% of people with type 2 were found to have NAFLD.
“Our meta-analysis provides evidence that the prevalence of NAFLD and NASH in patients with [type 2 diabetes] is very high,” notes researcher Zobair M. Younossi, MD.
Want to learn more about fatty liver disease and diabetes? Read “Preventing Fatty Liver Disease.”
Senior Digital Editor for DiabetesSelfManagement.com, Fennell has 16 years’ experience specializing in diabetes and related health conditions. Based in New York City, she has a degree from Columbia University.