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Diabetes & Liver Disease

Sunday, July 18, 2010
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Are newly diagnosed diabetics at greater risk of advanced liver disease?

The negative impact of diabetes on the cardiovascular, renal, nervous and retinal systems is well recognized and regular screening for complications with these systems is advised by health care providers world over. However, awareness about diabetes potential complications on the liver, an organ that plays a central and crucial role in the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism and maintenance of blood glucose levels is still falling short.

A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in June 2010 suggests that adults with newly diagnosed diabetes could be at higher long-term risk of serious liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver failure.

Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes mellitus has risen to an unprecedented level over the past decade. According to World Health Organization statistics, more than 220 million people worldwide have diabetes and it is one of the leading contributors to ill health and premature mortality worldwide.

This study evaluated whether adults with newly diagnosed diabetes were at increased risk of serious liver disease. The results showed that adults with newly diagnosed diabetes had a significantly higher risk of developing serious liver disease than those without diabetes and this result held across demographic strata and with adjustment for other known risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.



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User Comments

18 September, 2010 | shambhavi | Reply

shambhavi My friend has labile diabetes. She has tried different kinds of medication different doses of the same but everything seems to have some sort of side effect or it does not control her sugar level. She is careful with her diet and does not go gungho over food, hardly touches sweets has plenty of vegetables and fibre rich food. Yet her fasting and post prandial are around 350+. The 2 draw backs with her are she does not like to go for a walk or exercise and she is always talking about her health and talks of downslide. Can these two be sufficient to have erratic blood sugar levels?

20 September, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Dear Shambhavi,

A lot of factors like nutritious and balanced diet, exercise or walking, the quality, quantity and timings of meals, positive thinking, no stress and fretting etc help in control of blood sugars.

I hope she undergoes a complete diabetic check once in 6 months to check all the parameters concerned with diabetes. It looks like she is sub-consciously worrying about her sugars and getting stressed with that. Consult a diabetalogist, who will advice on insulin for better control of blood sugars. Ask her to walk for about 40 mins daily, practice breathing exercises and medication to relax her mind.

She can also register on our website for a Glucose control program, to keep track of her diet and exercise.

Thank you for your query.

30 August, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain You are absolutely right Geetanjali. In a recent study published in online issue of Neurology, it was reported that having insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes can raise the risk of developing the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Even after adjusting for other risk factors, people with the highest levels of fasting insulin had nearly six times the odds of having plaque deposits between nerves in the brain, compared to people with the lowest levels of fasting insulin.
Thanks and regards,
Kanika Jain

30 August, 2010 | Geetanjali Kelkar | Reply

Geetanjali Kelkar In addition to liver disease, diabetes also causes Alzheimer's disease. Uncontrolled blood sugar increases the plaques in brain, brain tangles and dementia typically seen in Alzheimer's. This again highlights the importance of blood glucose control with diet and exercise in diabetics

27 July, 2010 | padma | Reply

padma dear samanitha, there are certain suggested lab tests for diabetics to be done regularly issued by American Diabetes Asoociation. (ADA guidelines). the frequency for a liver function tests for diabetes is once in 6 months, which you can remenber. in specific you can go for SGOT AND SGPT to find the status of liver with respect to its functioning and if abnormal, dietary modifications can be made accordingly. Have a happy living!!!

20 July, 2010 | Samanhita | Reply

Samanhita IS the liver affected because of obesity complicated by Diabetes or is it due to uncontrolled Diabetes. My father in law has a problem, the doctors are not able to control his blood sugar levels and regularly he gets his eyes, foot and kidney checked .I am worried now do we have to get his liver tests done regularly too?

21 July, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Dear Samanhita,

Poorly controlled blood glucose levels generally increases the risk of Non-
alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Having elevated cholesterol levels and being obese further increases the risk of NAFLD. Also some medications used to treat the above mentioned conditions cause damage to the liver, which is very rare. The incidence of NAFLD is therefore high in diabetics.

Having a good control over blood glucose, maintaining a healthy weight, lowering the cholesterol levels and avoiding the consumption of alcohol is the best defense against liver damage.

Your doctor too would recommend regular liver function tests along with the diabetic profile tests to rule out Liver damage. Please talk to your doctor if your father in law has not got his liver function test done in the last 6 months.

Thank you for your query,
Best Regards,
Sangeetha Narayana Swamy,
Senior Dietitian,

21 July, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain Dear Samanhita,
Person suffering from diabetes for long have insulin resistance and greater fatty load to liver. Presence of co-morbidities like obesity and\or hypertension put person even at higher risk for liver disease.

We appreciate that your father in law gets regularly screened for eyes, foot and kidney complications.

Regarding undergoing liver tests, his medical health care provider would be best person to guide.
Please feel free to ask us any questions on diet. We would be glad to help you.

Kanika Jain

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Tags: Chronic Lifestyle Diseases, Diabetes, Diabetes Management, Drugs, Gestational Diabetes, Healthy Lifestyle, Pre-Diabetes, Renal Diseases, Type 1 Diabetes - Juvenile Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes - Insulin Dependent Diabetes, Vitamins & Supplements


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