Underweight IBD Patients are More Susceptible to Fatty Liver Disease, Study Suggests

Underweight IBD Patients are More Susceptible to Fatty Liver Disease, Study Suggests
Underweight patients with inflammatory bowel disease may be more susceptible to developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease than those with normal weight, according to a study. The study, "Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in underweight patients with inflammatory bowel disease: A case-control study," was published in PLOS One. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a type of fatty liver disease not related to heavy alcohol consumption. Usually the condition is associated with obesity and other metabolic disorders, but it also can be triggered by malnutrition and starvation in lean and underweight individuals. Malnutrition is extremely common in many diseases, including cancer, congestive heart failure, anorexia, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In IBD, malnutrition is estimated to affect 25% to 69.9% of the patients, while NAFLD is estimated to affect up to 40% of patients. However, the prevalence of underweight NAFLD patients with IBD has never been investigated. In this study, German researchers set out to evaluate whether low body weight could be associated with NAFLD among patients diagnosed with IBD. The cross-sectional, age, gender, and disease-matched case-control study enrolled a total of 61 underweight (body mass index, or BMI, lower than 18.5 kg/m²) and 61 normal weight (BMI between 20-24.9 kg/m²) IBD patients, and non-IBD individuals who underwent routine abdominal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure fat content of the liver. In both groups, 47 patients had Crohn’s disease, six patients had a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis and eight patients had no diagnosis, but suffered from abdominal pain (non-IBD). Medical history, including disease duration, surgery and medical treatment, laboratory tests, liver and splee
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