Objective: The non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is most common metabolic liver disease and considered as a significant independent risk factor for subclinical and clinical cardiovascular disease. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between NAFLD and the development of hypertension in a Korean population.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed with 6331 Korean (2995 men, 3336 women, mean age 51 year-old) adults without baseline hypertension. We used three NAFLD indexes (fatty liver index, hepatic steatosis index and comprehensive NAFLD score) which were validated in previous studies and defined NAFLD if the two of three indexes are satisfied. And we checked the new incidence of hypertension.
Results: Over a median follow-up period of 8.3 years, 301 of 1517 (19.8 %) NAFLD group and 590 of 4814 (12.3 %) non-NAFLD group developed hypertension. NAFLD significantly increased the risk of hypertension. (Hazard ratio [HR] = 1.69, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.474-1.952, p-value<0.001). And the risk was robust (HR= 1.34, 95% CI 1.125-1.594, p-value 0.001) after adjusting for potential confounders, including age, gender, diabetes mellitus, family history of hypertension and obesity.
Conclusions: NAFLD is an independent predictor of hypertension in general Korean population. Monitoring and consideration for blood pressure should be conducted in NAFLD patients.