Diabetes and your liver: different types of diabetes. Diabetes raises your risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which excess fat builds up in your liver even if you drink little or no alcohol.
This condition occurs in at least half of those with type 2 diabetes.
Fatty liver disease itself usually causes no symptoms. But it raises your risk of developing liver inflammation or scarring (cirrhosis). It’s also linked to an increased risk of liver cancer, heart disease and kidney disease.
Fatty liver disease may even play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Once you have both conditions, poorly managed type 2 diabetes can make fatty liver disease worse.
The liver is one of the most important organs in our bodies, playing a central role in a number of important processes.
One of these is to help control glucose concentration in the blood (i.e. regulating blood glucose levels).
A healthy liver helps keep blood glucose within the ‘normal range’ and protects against excessive fluctuations, which is vital as high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can both be dangerous for the human body.
What is the liver?
The liver is the largest internal organ of the human body, weighing approximately 1.4 kg (3 lb) in the average adult.
Located under your diaphragm (more to the right side of your body), it is a wedge-shaped, spongy organ that performs a number of key functions, including regulating blood sugar levels, getting rid of toxins (body detoxification) and bile production.
Liver disease is an important cause of death in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes, by most estimates, is now the most common cause of liver disease in the U.S. Cryptogenic cirrhosis, of which diabetes is, by far, the most common cause, has become the third leading indication for liver transplantation in the U.S. This includes abnormal liver enzymes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and acute liver failure. In addition, there is an unexplained association of diabetes with hepatitis C.
Diabetes and your liver: the liver and cholesterol
The liver is responsible for regulating cholesterol levels in the blood. The liver is able to produce and release cholesterol into the blood and also can remove cholesterol from the bloodstream. When cholesterol is removed from the blood, the liver converts cholesterol into bile salts.
- Read more on cholesterol and the body
Different liver diseases: Liver damage
A damaged liver can cause a number of serious health problems as it is responsible for so many important functions of the human body.
A common sign of a damaged liver is a condition called jaundice, which is a yellowness of your skin and eyes that occurs when bilirubin – a yellow breakdown product of your red blood cells – builds up in the blood.
Different liver diseases: Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a diabetes-related condition which causes the build-up of excess fat in your liver.
This condition occurs in at least 50 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes and close to half of those with type 1 diabetes, and, unlike other liver problems, is not linked to alcohol consumption.
The risk of developing this disease is increased by the presence of diabetes, as well also increased by other medical conditions related to diabetes, including:
The presence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is known to raise the risk of liver inflammation or scarring (cirrhosis), and is also associated with an increased risk of liver cancer and heart disease.
nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The name pretty much sums it up: Excess fat accumulates in the liver, the football-size organ under the ribcage and over the stomach. NAFLD is especially common in people who are obese or have type 2 diabetes (or both). Having type 2 diabetes raises your odds of having a more severe form of NAFLD known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In this case, liver fat triggers harmful inflammation that creates scar tissue there. “This can lead over time to cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease.
NON ALCOHOLIC FATTY LIVER DISEASE (NAFLD)
Once you are diabetic, always strive to know the condition of your liver. Do a test to check it.
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