JOURNAL ARTICLE

Prevalence and associated metabolic factors of fatty liver disease in the elderly

Zhongli Wang, Ming Xu, Jianhong Peng, Li Jiang, Zhengguo Hu, Hua Wang, Shiqing Zhou, Rui Zhou, Michael Hultström, En Yin Lai
Experimental Gerontology 2013, 48 (8): 705-9
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OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the metabolic risk factors for fatty liver disease in the elderly, and determine the prevalence of fatty liver disease in the elderly in Wuhan, central China.

METHODS: The study was a case-control study based on all 4226 adults above 60 years of age from a cohort investigated in 2010-11 at the medical examination center of Zhongnan hospital, using 3145 randomly selected adults under 60 years of age from the same cohort as controls. Fatty liver disease (FLD) was identified with ultrasound imaging. The risk factors measured were body mass index (BMI), and plasma concentrations of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL) and serum uric acid (SUA). The probability of steatohepatitis with advanced fibrosis was predicted using a score based on BMI, age, ALT, and TG (BAAT),and using AST/ALT ratio (AAR).

RESULTS: FLD was higher in the elderly (26.7%) than in the non-elderly (22.8%) and similar in the elderly between men and women (26.6% vs 27.0%, p>0.05). BMI, TC, TG, LDL, SUA, AST and ALT were all significantly higher in FLD, whereas the level of HDL was markedly lower. Multiple regression analyses showed that obesity, high TC, TG, SUA, low HDL, and elevated ALT, AAR<1 were closely related to the elderly FLD, while male sex, obesity, high TC, TG, low HDL, elevated ALT, AST and AAR<1 were closely related to the non-elderly FLD. The prevalence of steatohepatitis with advanced fibrosis estimated as BAAT index≥3 was 2.4% in all subjects, and was higher in the elderly FLD patients than in the non-elderly FLD patients.

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of FLD is higher in the elderly, and is broadly related to the same metabolic risk factors as in the non-elderly. However, female-sex is no longer protective with increasing age, and the prevalence of steatohepatitis with advanced fibrosis is estimated to be considerably higher in the elderly FLD patients than in the non-elderly FLD controls.

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