Scientists from the University of Michigan found that those with a normal body weight with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are more likely to have heart disease than those who are overweight or obese.
This link to heart disease was found even though lean patients were less likely to have cirrhosis, diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
The research was presented at Digestive Disease Week 2022 and was conducted by Karn Wijarnpreecha et al.
Roughly 25 percent of adults in the U.S. have NAFLD, a term for various conditions of the liver that affect those who drink little to no alcohol.
The main characteristic of NAFLD is having too much fat stored in the liver cells.
It typically has no symptoms and can lead to other dangerous conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cirrhosis of the liver.
While NAFLD is more common in people who are overweight or living with obesity, it is also found in people who have a normal BMI.
In the study, the team examined more than 10,000 adults diagnosed with NAFLD at the University of Michigan Hospital from 2012 to 2021.
They found that compared to overweight and obese patients, lean patients had a lower prevalence of cirrhosis, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
But they had a higher prevalence of the peripheral vascular disease.
In further analysis, the team found that lean patients with NAFLD also had a much higher prevalence of heart disease.
Given the unknown reasons behind the higher prevalence of heart diseases among lean patients with NAFLD, the team encourages doctors not to overlook lean patients with NAFLD since they may be facing serious health consequences similar to patients who are overweight or living with obesity.
Too often, doctors overlook NAFLD patients with a normal BMI because they assume their risk for more serious conditions is lower than those who are overweight.
But this way of thinking may put these patients at risk.
If you care about heart attacks, please read studies about how to control your cholesterol to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and new way to save many more lives from heart attack, stroke.
For more information about liver health, please see recent studies about a new therapy for fatty liver disease, and results showing this seaweed may prevent obesity, fatty liver disease.
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