Background/Aims: Diabetic patients have an increased prevalence and severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We aimed to investigate the prevalence and the factors associated with the presence of ultrasonographic NAFLD in type-2 diabetic individuals.
Methods: In a cross-sectional design study, 180 type-2 diabetic patients were submitted to a complete clinical and laboratory evaluation and abdominal ultrasonography for NAFLD detection and grading. Statistical analysis included bivariate tests, analysis of variance (anova, for increasing severity of steatosis) and multivariate logistic regression.
Results: The prevalence of ultrasonographic NAFLD was 69.4% [95% confidence interval (CI): 58.3–82.7%]. Patients with NAFLD were more obese, had a higher waist circumference and serum triglyceride and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels than those without steatosis. Neither diabetic degenerative complication, nor glycaemic control was associated with liver steatosis. On multivariate analysis, a high serum triglycerides level [>2.82 mmol/L, odds ratio (OR): 3.7–4.1, 95% CI: 1.2–13.3] and a high-normal ALT level (≥40 U/L, OR: 2.5–2.7, 95% CI: 1.2–5.9) were independently associated with hepatic steatosis, together with either the presence of obesity (OR: 7.1, 95% CI: 3.0–17.0) or of increased waist circumference (OR: 4.8, 95% CI: 1.9–12.2).
Conclusions: Type-2 diabetic patients have a high prevalence of ultrasonographic NAFLD and its presence is associated with obesity, mainly abdominal, hypertriglyceridaemia and high-normal ALT levels. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in diabetic patients may develop and progress independent of the diabetes progression itself.