Liver Awareness Month: Are You Taking Care of this Precious Organ?

October is Liver Awareness Month – an important time to talk about how you can protect yourself from liver-related health conditions if you have diabetes.

The liver plays a critical role in many body processes. If it isn't in good working condition, your risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes can increase dramatically.

Fatty liver disease

Studies suggest that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) may contribute to the onset of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. The buildup of fat in the liver can make it harder to control fasting glucose levels while also contributing to insulin resistance.

Complications

About half of all patients with type 2 diabetes have NAFLD, while almost half of type 1 diabetes patients also have the condition.

NAFLD can be hard to diagnose, mainly because most individuals show no symptoms and also because blood tests and physical exams can't always catch it.

Taking care of your liver

Since poorly controlled diabetes can make NAFLD worse, it's important to take the health of your liver seriously. Here are a few ways you can do that:

  • Check in with your physician to assess risk. You may need to get a liver biopsy to accurately diagnose the condition.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. Reducing your carbohydrate intake can reduce fat in the liver fairly quickly. Just a 5-percent decrease in body fat can ease the fat burden on the liver and reduce inflammation.
  • Maintain blood sugar control.
  • Watch your cholesterol levels to ensure your LDL, the "bad" type of cholesterol, stays within a healthy range.
  • Reduce alcohol intake to ease stress on the liver.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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