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Metabolic Risk Factors Linked to Severe Liver Disease

Diabetes only significant predictor among alcohol risk users; alcohol use predictive for non-risk drinkers

man drinking

THURSDAY, Dec. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Metabolic risk factors are associated with severe liver disease, according to a study published online Nov. 22 in Hepatology.

Fredrik Åberg, M.D., Ph.D., from Helsinki University Hospital in Finland, and colleagues examined metabolic factors that predict severe liver complications, stratified by alcohol consumption, for a nationally representative cohort of 6,732 individuals without baseline liver disease. Follow-up data through 2013 were analyzed for liver-related admissions, mortality, and liver cancer.

The researchers found that 84 individuals experienced a severe liver event during follow-up. Factors that significantly predicted liver events in the final multivariate model were age (hazard ratio, 1.02), gender (women: hazard ratio, 0.55), alcohol use (hazard ratio, 1.002), diabetes (hazard ratio, 2.73), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C: hazard ratio, 0.74), and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR: hazard ratio, 1.01). Diabetes was the only significant predictor among alcohol risk users (hazard ratio, 6.79). Significant independent predictors among non-risk drinkers were age, alcohol use, smoking, waist circumference, low LDL-C, and HOMA-IR. Additional predictors were the total cholesterol-to-LDL-C ratio and waist circumference-to-body mass index ratio.

"Multiple components of the metabolic syndrome independently affected the risk for severe liver disease," the authors write. "Alcohol was significant even when average alcohol consumption was within the limits currently defining non-alcoholic fatty liver disease."

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