Liver disease associated with increased risk of death among diabetics

Individuals who have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, in addition to type 2 diabetes are significantly more likely to die from all causes, according to a new study from a team of Australian researchers.

The two conditions often occur at the same time. The researchers from the University of Western Australia wrote in their report that NAFLD and type 2 diabetes are both caused, in part, by insulin resistance. Furthermore, it has been found that anywhere from 49 to 75 percent of those with NAFLD will eventually develop diabetes.

For the study, which was published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, the researchers tracked the medical records of 337 Minnesota residents who had diabetes for a period of 10 years. During this time, 116 were diagnosed with NAFLD.

These individuals were over two times more likely to die during the study period than those who did not develop the condition. The most common causes of death among those with NAFLD were malignancies, liver complications and heart disease.

The researchers said that their study helps clarify the risks associated with the two conditions. It has been previously established that NAFLD patients who develop diabetes are more likely to have poorer health outcomes. However, there was less known about the increased risks associated with developing NAFLD among diabetics.

The findings could have major significance for the treatment of those with type 2 diabetes. The researchers said that by quantifying the increased risk of death among diabetics who develop NAFLD, they were able to show the importance of treatment strategies aimed at helping diabetics avoid the liver condition.  
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