Reuters Health Information (2004-07-15): Fatty liver in hypertensives tied to insulin resistance
Fatty liver in hypertensives tied to insulin resistance
Last Updated: 2004-07-15 7:17:22 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Fatty liver disease without
elevated liver enzymes or other obvious risk factors for such hepatitis
steatosis occurs significantly more often in people with arterial
hypertension than in the general population and appears to be related
to insulin resistance, Italian researchers report in the July issue of
As Dr. Fabio Piscaglia, who led the study, told Reuters Health,
'"non-alcoholic steatohepatitis has become a well defined clinical
entity in recent years, signaled by fatty liver and increased liver
enzymes, definitively diagnosed at pathological examination of bioptic
specimens and caused by insulin resistance." "On the contrary," he
added, "the clinical meaning of fatty liver with normal liver enzymes
is still largely unknown."
Dr. Piscaglia from the University of Bologna and colleagues report
that fatty liver, as detected by abdominal ultrasound, with normal
liver enzymes is a relatively common in arterial hypertensive patients.
The researchers found that in 55 non-obese, non-diabetic,
non-alcoholic, hepatitis-negative patients with arterial hypertension,
the prevalence of fatty liver with normal enzymes was 30.9% versus
12.7% in 55 sex- and age- matched healthy controls.
The presence of this condition appeared independently associated
with increased insulin resistance (odds ratio, 1.66) and body mass
index (odds ratio, 1.22).
"Since insulin resistance is an important prognostic factor in
hypertensive subjects, fatty liver might be a candidate in identifying
patients bearing a higher cardiovascular risk," Dr. Piscaglia added.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. A. M. Diehl from Johns Hopkins
University, Baltimore, Maryland, comments that these results "are
important because they complement and extend other evidence that
correlates hepatic steatosis with insulin resistance." The strong tie
between these two conditions, he points out, has "tremendous clinical