London: Adding more support to the importance of dietary interventions in obese patients, a research said fatty liver is independently associated with heart failure in such people.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), also known as hepatic steatosis, is the most common liver disease, with a prevalence of up to 30 percent in the general population and between 70 percent and 90 percent among persons who are obese or have Type 2 diabetes.
NAFLD is considered as a manifestation of the metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors like high blood pressure, excess abdominal fat and unhealthy cholesterol levels that raise the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other health problems.
“One of the unique aspects of our study is that we took all of the individual components of the metabolic syndrome into account as possible co founders in this association, as the metabolic syndrome is associated with NAFLD and with cardiovascular disease,” study lead author Ralph L. Widya, MD, from the Leiden University Medical Centre in Leiden, the Netherlands said.
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For the study, researchers assessed 714 men and women aged 45 to 65 years and found 47 percent were overweight and classified 13 percent as obese.
The results indicated an increase in hepatic triglyceride content — a measure of fat in the liver — was associated with a decrease in mean left ventricular diastolic function — the phase of the heartbeat when the heart relaxes to fill with blood — in the obese subgroup of the study population.
“The association between hepatic triglyceride content and left ventricular diastolic function existed independently of the metabolic syndrome, suggesting that fatty liver itself could, at least in obese people, pose a risk of heart dysfunction above and beyond known cardiovascular risk factors that are clustered within the metabolic syndrome,” the report read.
“Our results may be of importance in cardiovascular risk stratification in obesity, because there is a large variation in the degree of hepatic steatosis in obesity,” Widya said, adding “more emphasis should be put on dietary interventions to reduce or prevent hepatic steatosis.”