How Diabetes Affects the Liver

People with diabetes have a greater chance of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease than non-diabetics. The liver is a normal part of the digestive system, and it is where insulin is metabolized. In diabetics, too much glucose is often produced by the liver, which leads to a high glucose level in the body.

According to the Mayo Clinic, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease develops in at least half of patients with type 2 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes are also affected by this liver disease, with almost half of this group developing this health problem. Obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are other conditions that are related to diabetes which raise the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

About Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is linked to liver cancer and heart disease, so it is important to do everything possible to avoid developing liver problems. The disease can be present without any symptoms, but in the meantime, your chance of getting liver inflammation or scarring or cirrhosis is increased. It can be prevented by taking some steps that help those with diabetes keep their glucose levels at acceptable ranges.

Not drinking alcohol or limiting drinks to one for a woman and two for a man can prevent this liver disorder in some cases. It is important to follow your doctor's instructions about drinking alcohol. Some diabetics have no negative consequences, while others are affected by alcohol consumption.

Steps to Avoid Fatty Liver Disease

Your doctor will monitor your liver function if you have been diagnosed with diabetes. Many doctors order an ultrasound exam of the liver when diabetes is diagnosed, and regular blood tests show whether the liver is functioning properly. Keeping your blood sugar level under control is important for many different reasons, including the avoidance of fatty liver disease. Careful monitoring of blood sugar levels each day can ensure that you are maintaining healthy glucose levels in your body.

Another step that can help you avoid fatty liver disease is getting to a healthy weight. This means losing weight if you are overweight. It is also important to keep high blood pressure within normal ranges and to keep low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, under control.

A Typical Diet for Diabetics with Fatty Liver Disease

Dietitians and nutritionists can help you eat the foods that will keep your glucose normal and that will not put a strain on your liver. The diet will need to be low in protein since a lot of protein can put stress on the liver. Foods that are typically included are monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in avocados, walnuts and other nuts, as well as complex carbohydrates. This type of diet is similar to a regular diabetic diet, but there is less red meat eaten.

Photo: Pixabay

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