Objectives: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is commonly associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) though its prevalence is not well studied. We conducted a prospective study of prevalence and risk factors of NAFLD in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Research design and methods: 204 type 2 DM patients attending an out-patient diabetic clinic underwent abdominal sonography. Ninty of 127 patients with fatty infiltration on ultrasound consented for liver biopsy, clinical and biochemical workup.
Results: Eighty seven percent had NAFLD on histology with 62.6% steatohepatitis and 37.3% fibrosis. Age, duration of diabetes mellitus, degree of glycemic control, body mass index, waist circumference, family history of diabetes mellitus, did not predict the presence or severity of NAFLD or fibrosis. Serum alanine aminostranferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase levels, though within normal limits, were significantly higher in patients with steatohepatitis. Prevalence of NASH increased with increase in the components of the metabolic syndrome. Serum AST/ALT ratio were also significantly higher (p-0.049) in patients with severe fibrosis. All patients with severe fibrosis had metabolic syndrome.
Conclusions: Prevalence of NAFLD and NASH in our cohort of type 2 DM patients is high and increases with multiple components of metabolic syndrome. NASH and advanced fibrosis can occur in diabetic patients without any symptoms, signs or routine laboratory test abnormalities.