Fatty liver linked to increased risk of heart failure

Accumulation of fat in the liver, known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, is linked to an increased risk of heart failure over the next decade, according to an analysis of pooled data from available research, published in the Gut magazine. . Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease has been…



Accumulation of fat in the liver, known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, is linked to an increased risk of heart failure over the next decade, according to an analysis of pooled data from available research, published in the Gut magazine. .

NAFLD has become one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease worldwide, affecting up to 30% of adults. Its global prevalence is expected to increase dramatically over the next decade due to rising levels of overweight and obesity.

Recently published studies have implicated this condition in the development of heart failure, which occurs when the heart is unable to pump sufficient amounts of blood around the body. But the magnitude of this risk, and whether it differs by severity of liver disease, is unclear.

To try to find out, the researchers pooled the results of 11 long-term international observational studies published up to March 2022. The studies looked at possible links between NAFLD and heart failure in more than 11 million adults. middle-aged.



Four studies were conducted in Sweden, Finland and the UK; four were made in the United States; and three were in South Korea.

Half of the study participants were female, with an average age of 55 and an average body mass index (BMI) of 26: a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 indicates a healthy weight; 25 and 29.9 indicate overweight; and a BMI of 30 or more indicates obesity.

About 1 in 4 (2.9 million, or 26%) of study participants already had fatty liver disease. Heart failure was diagnosed in 97,716 people during a median follow-up period of 10 years.

Thus, the joint data analysis of the results of the 11 studies showed that the presence of this liver disease was associated with a 50% increased risk of developing heart failure during the follow-up period.

This was true regardless of age, gender, body fat, diabetes, high blood pressure, ethnicity, and other common cardiovascular risk factors.

To overcome the problems inherent in different study designs and methods, the researchers grouped the data from the selected studies by country of study, length of follow-up period, method of diagnosis of heart failure, and method of diagnosis of heart failure. liver disease. The results were always the same.

The risk also seemed to increase with the severity of NAFLD, especially with more extensive liver fibrosis (scarring), when the risk was 76% higher, although this finding was based on results from only 2 studios.

The researchers claim that it is not known how non-alcoholic fatty liver disease may increase the risk of heart complications related to the development of heart failure. However, they explain that this liver disease worsens systemic insulin resistance, promotes plaque formation and releases a cocktail of inflammatory and blood-thickening chemicals.

New diabetes drugs, which lower blood sugar, appear to have favorable effects on the risk of hospitalization for heart failure, researchers say.

Furthermore, they recognize that the analysis of pooled data has several limitations, the main one being the observational nature of included studieswhich makes it impossible to establish causality.

However, their findings are consistent with previously published research and suggest that anyone with fatty liver disease deserves careful medical attention because of the link between this disease and heart failure.

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