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Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)

Strong connection noted between diabetes and NASH, vigilance and early screening recommended

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There is a strong association between diabetes and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a severe form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to a study that identified key characteristics linked to NASH in patients with diabetes including elevated BMI, overweight/obesity, increased HbA1c, elevated serum cholesterol, and heightened liver enzyme levels.

Other noteworthy characteristics associated with NASH in diabetic patients include advancing age, female gender, white race, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, metformin use, increased ferritin levels, and elevated albumin levels.

The prevalence of NASH ranged widely, from 12% to 93.8%, with the highest percentages observed in studies conducted in Romania (87.1%) and the lowest in studies in India (12.5%).

For those diagnosed with steatosis upon baseline ultrasound, the review recommends timely management through a liver biopsy. Notably, despite the current absence of NAFLD/NASH-specific medications on the market, the review highlights the critical importance of ongoing research and the development of targeted drugs.

Reference

Aldossari KK. The epidemiology and characteristics of patients with diabetes with or without NASH: a systematic review. Afr Health Sci. 2023;23(2):509-518. doi: 10.4314/ahs.v23i2.59. PMID: 38223606; PMCID: PMC10782311.

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