Longitudinal association of obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes with risk of elevated aminotransferase levels in a cohort of Mexican health workers

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

In Mexico, chronic liver disease have been increasingly found along with the rapidly growing prevalence of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome (MS). We aimed to investigate the longitudinal association between these three factors and risk of elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels (>40 U/L), a marker for liver damage, in a cohort of Mexican adults.

METHODS:

Data were obtained from two separate waves of the Mexican Health Worker Cohort Study: Wave 1 (2004–2006) and Wave 2 (2011–2013). Unconditional logistic regression models were employed to determine the cross-sectional and longitudinal association between these risk factors and elevated ALT levels.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of elevated ALT was significantly higher among men, individuals aged under 60 years, those who were overweight or obese, diabetic, with MS or heavy/binge drinkers. The longitudinal results indicated that weight gain between waves that resulted in a change in body mass index, along with remaining overweight or obese, were significantly associated with an increased risk of elevated ALT levels. A significantly increased risk of developing elevated ALT was also observed among those who acquired diabetes or MS from Wave 1 to Wave 2.

CONCLUSIONS:

Weight gain and acquiring diabetes or MS are associated with a significant risk of having elevated ALT. These results, within the context of the rapid increase in global obesity rates, call urgently for programs to help to prevent chronic liver disease.

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