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Intern Med. 2017;56(7):763-771. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.56.7115. Epub 2017 Apr 1.

Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Is a Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes in Middle-aged Japanese Men and Women.

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Diabetes and Metabolic Disease Research Center, Hidaka Hospital, Japan.


Objective Emerging studies have focused on the association between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We aimed to investigate whether NAFLD diagnosed by ultrasonography could predict the risk of future T2DM in a Japanese middle-aged health check population. Methods We conducted a 10-year observational study in a health checkup population of middle-aged Japanese men and women at Hidaka Hospital from 2004 to 2013. We excluded cases with an alcohol intake exceeding 20 g/day and those with impaired glucose tolerance. The remaining 1,544 men and 864 women were classified into fatty liver and non-fatty liver groups based on the findings of abdominal ultrasonography. Both groups were followed for the development of diabetes. A multiple regression analysis was performed for each variable to predict the risk of future diabetes. Results The median age of the participants was 46.0 years at the entry, and the follow-up period was 10 years. The incidence of diabetes in the fatty liver group was 12.5% (29/232) in men and 26.3% (10/38) in women, whereas the incidence of diabetes in the non-fatty liver group was 2.5% (34/1,312) in men and 1.8% (15/826) in women. The relative risk of diabetes associated with fatty liver was 4.8 [95% confidence interval (CI) 3.0-7.8, p<0.0001] in men and 14.5 (95% CI 7.0-30.1, p<0.0001) in women. Conclusion NAFLD was a significant predictor for future diabetes in a Japanese middle-aged health check population, especially in women.

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