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Obesity-related liver condition may not increase risk of death

Category: Liver Diseases

Liver panel results that indicate an individual has non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, can be concerning. But new evidence suggests that it may not be as great a problem as medical professionals previously assumed.

NAFLD is commonly associated with obesity-related health problems like heart disease and diabetes. Individuals who are diagnosed with the condition often have multiple serious health concerns.

However, after tracking the medical records of more than 11,000 individuals over a period of 18 years, a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University found that the presence of NAFLD does not impact a person's survival time. Individuals with the condition live just as long as those with out and develop heart disease at roughly the same rate.

"Physicians have considered fatty liver disease a really worrisome risk factor for cardiovascular disease," said lead researcher Mariana Lazo. "Our data analysis shows this doesn't appear to be the case. We were surprised, to say the least, because we expected to learn by how much non-alcoholic fatty liver disease increased the risk of death, and instead found the answer was not at all."

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