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Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Screening Recommended for Overweight and Obese Children with Type 1 Diabetes, Study Suggests

A new study reveals that Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD does not seem to occur at higher rates among children and young adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D), however, it shows vital signs among those overweight or obese children.

Photo: Child Obesity | InStyleHealth

What is NAFLD?

NAFLD or Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is liver condition affecting people who drink little to no alcohol. As the name of the condition implies, it is too much accumulation of fats stored in liver cells.

The researchers of the study conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the 50 young Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) patients with average age of 16.9 years, of which 28 are girls. Liver fat was measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), including proton density fat fraction (PDFF) analysis and elastography sequences. Participants who had T1D for an average of 6.5 years, and 92% had been diagnosed for over 2 years.

In general, five patients were ultimately diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Despite the relatively low incidence rate of 10%, two of the five children who developed NAFLD were overweight, and another two were obese.

Checking at young T1D patients who were overweight or obese, the incidence rate of NAFLD increased to 26 %.

Although none of the NAFLD patients were found to have hepatic fibrosis, though PDFF analysis identified one whose scores were comparative with stage 3 hepatic steatosis.

Using the logistic regression analysis, it confirmed that only elevations in the body mass index standard deviation score was a significant risk factor for NAFLD.

Researchers said, “Our data suggest that routine screening for NAFLD in all young patients with T1D might not be necessary, but it should be considered in patients with overweight/obesity and metabolic syndrome features.” For complete details of the study, click here.

Source: J Pediatr 2021;230:32-37.e1

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