Fatty liver associated with increased risk of dementia - healing practice

Fatty liver disease a risk factor for dementia

According to a recent study, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease appears to be a potential risk factor for dementia. Additionally, people with this form of liver disease who have had heart disease or stroke appear to be at even higher risk for dementia.

A research team from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm investigated whether there was a link between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and the likelihood of developing dementia. According to the results, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can be assessed as a potential risk factor for dementia. The results of the corresponding study were published in the specialized journal "Neurology".

Prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver

According to researchers, up to 25% of people worldwide are affected by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, making it the most common chronic form of liver disease.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can be caused, for example, by obesity and associated diseases such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes. And in a small percentage of those affected, it leads to inflammation of the liver or liver damage.

"Common risk factors for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and dementia include metabolic disorders such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity," says study author Dr. Ying Shang of the Karolinska Institute.

Relationship Between Fatty Liver Disease and Dementia Studied

In the current study, the researchers wanted to find out if there is a link between this form of liver disease and the risk of dementia – independent of other risk factors.

To do this, the team analyzed data from Sweden's national patient registry and identified 2,898 people aged 65 and over who had been diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

In addition, 28,357 people without fatty liver disease comparable in terms of age, sex and place of residence served as a control group.

After a median follow-up of more than five years, 145 people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (5%) were diagnosed with dementia, compared with 1,291 people without liver disease (4.6%).

Significant increase in dementia rate

When controlling for cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes, people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease had a 38% higher overall rate of dementia than people without liver disease, the research team reports. .

An evaluation specifically related to vascular dementia showed that people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease even had a 44% higher rate of dementia than people without liver disease.

People who had heart disease in addition to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease had a 50% higher risk of dementia, and those who had had a stroke had more than 2.5 times the risk of developing dementia, write the experts.

"Our study shows that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with the development of dementia, which may be primarily caused by vascular damage in the brain," summarizes Dr. Hang Together.

Targeted treatment of this form of liver disease and cardiovascular disease that occur at the same time could therefore reduce the risk of dementia, according to the study author. (fp)

Author and source information

Show now

This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Ying Shang, Linnea Widman, Hannes Hagstrom: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and risk of dementia: a population-based cohort study; in: Neurology (published 07/13/2022), neurology.org American Academy of Neurology: Study: Liver disease related to high risk of dementia (published 07/13/2022), aan.com

Important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.