January 25, 2018
2 min read

Fatty liver index predicts diabetes in absence of impaired fasting glucose

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Results from a general population study in Japan revealed a link between fatty liver index and the development of diabetes, regardless sex or whether the patient had impaired fasting glucose.

“[Fatty liver index (FLI)] was a risk factor associated with the development of diabetes irrespective of the presence or absence of [impaired fasting glucose (IFG)],” Aya Hirata, MD, from the Keio University School of Medicine, Japan, and colleagues wrote. “These findings suggest that FLI is a beneficial tool for predicting the development of incident diabetes during health checkups. This may allow earlier intervention to prevent diabetes in the general population.”

To evaluate FLI as a predictive tool for diabetes, the researchers enrolled 1,498 men and 2,941 women from the general population. The study comprised six groups: patients who had low FLI, moderate FLI, or high FLI, divided by the presence or absence of IFG.

Patients in the high FLI with IFG group and the high FLI without IFG group had higher BMI, waist circumference, triglyceride levels and liver enzymes levels compared with other groups (P < .001). Patients with IFG in any group were more likely to currently consume alcohol (P < .001).

During a mean follow-up of 3 years, 176 men and 320 women developed diabetes.

Multivariate adjustment showed that men in the high FLI without IFG group (HR = 1.9; 95% CI, 1.08-3.36) and all men with IFG and low FLI (HR = 3.91; 95% CI, 2.1-7.27), moderate FLI (HR = 5.72; 95% CI, 3.29-9.97) or high FLI (HR = 6.77; 95% CI, 4-11.46) were significantly more likely to develop diabetes vs. patients in the low FLI and no IFG group.

Similarly, women in the high FLI without IFG group (HR = 1.72; 95% CI, 1.18-2.51) and all women with IFG and low FLI (HR = 4.24; 95% CI, 2.45-7.32), moderate FLI (HR = 6.15; 95% CI, 3.95-9.56) or high FLI (HR = 6.1; 95% CI, 4.05-9.17) had significantly higher risks for diabetes vs. women with low FLI and no IFG.

Further analysis showed that both men (HR = 3.73; 95% CI, 1.68-8.27) and women (HR = 2; 95% CI, 1.3-3.09) who had high FLI without IFG and were not current drinkers had a significantly higher risk for diabetes vs. non-drinkers in the low FLI without IFG group. All patients with IFG regardless of their FLI group or drinking status had a higher risk for diabetes. – by Talitha Bennett

Disclosure: Healio.com/Hepatology was unable to determine relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.