Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
January 11, 2022
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Family history of diabetes may increase risk for NAFLD

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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People with a parent, sibling or child with diabetes have increased risk for developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, regardless of their own glucose status, according to study findings.

“The first-degree relatives of patients with diabetes share a common genetic background with patients with diabetes, which predisposes them to insulin secretion deficiency and asymptomatic insulin resistance at a young age,” Junping Wen, MD, chief physician of endocrinology at Fujian Provincial Hospital and professor at Fujian Medical University in China, and colleagues wrote. “Nevertheless, few clinical studies have explored the association between NAFLD and first-degree family history of diabetes, and the conclusions have not reached consistency. ... Using fatty liver index to identify NAFLD, the present study aimed to investigate the association between first-degree family history of diabetes and NAFLD among the community population, as well as the influence of traditional and metabolic factors, especially glucose metabolic status, on this association.”

Liver Highlight
Source: Adobe Stock

Researchers analyzed data from 11,162 participants in the REACTION study (mean age, 55.57 years). Clinical information, including demographics and family history of diabetes, was self-reported. Participants had a first-degree family history of diabetes if they were related to at least one parent, sibling or child with diabetes. BMI and blood pressure were obtained during physical examinations. Blood samples were collected to determine fasting plasma glucose, HbA1c and lipid profiles.

Of the study cohort, 1,292 reported having a first-degree family history of diabetes. In multivariate logistic analysis, people with a family history of diabetes were more likely to have higher fasting plasma glucose (OR = 1.102; 95% CI, 1.048-1.16; P < . 001), 2-hour plasma glucose (OR = 1.042; 95% CI, 1.019-1.065; P < . 001), triglycerides (OR = 1.071; 95% CI, 1.014-1.132; P = .014) and fatty liver index (OR = 1.004; 95% CI, 1.001-1.006; P = . 006) than those without a family history.

Glucose metabolic status did not interfere with the association between a first-degree family history of diabetes and fatty liver index. After adjusting for age, first-degree family history of diabetes was an independent factor associated with fatty liver index in men (standardized beta = .031; P = .011), premenopausal women (standardized beta = .072; P < .001) and postmenopausal women (standardized beta = .028; P = .006).

“Regardless of the status of glucose metabolism, first-degree relatives of patients with diabetes were more susceptible to NAFLD,” the researchers wrote. “Therefore, for first-degree relatives of patients with diabetes, even in the absence of diabetes, it is important to screen and prevent NAFLD in the early stage.”