Your Liver Is so Fat...

Fatty liver increases risk of type 2 diabetes

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A new study shows that fatty liver may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Fatty liver has recently been recognized as an indicator of obesity and insulin resistance, two contributing factors to the development of type 2 diabetes. Now, findings from this new study show that fatty liver may be more than a sign of obesity. In fact, fatty liver may independently increase the risk of diabetes.

According to senior author Sun Kim, M.D., from Stanford University, a diagnosis of fatty liver should be a cause for concern. Fatty liver does not just mean that there is fat in the liver, says Kim. It may mean that type 2 diabetes is in the patient's future.

In a study of more than 11,000 Koreans, Dr. Kim and colleagues found that individuals with fatty liver had substantially more metabolic abnormalities, including increased concentrations of glucose and triglycerides (the chemical form of fat as it exists in the body). Those with fatty liver also lower levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (a.k.a. the "good cholesterol").

The key finding of the study was that individuals with fatty liver were more likely than those without fatty liver to develop type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Kim concludes that this study shows that using ultrasound to identify fatty liver can predict the development of type 2 diabetes in five years.

An estimated 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. That is 8.3 percent of the American population. Of those people, 18.8 million have been diagnosed, leaving many diabetic and at-risk individuals in the dark.

The study will appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 25, 2011
Last Updated:
February 28, 2011