Your liver is the biggest organ of your body. It has numerous functions, including creating bile for food digestion, making blood proteins to help your immune system, transporting oxygen, blood clotting, and assisting your body in storing glycogen. It also happens to be the only organ which can regenerate even with just a fourth of the organ remaining.
But while you’re aware of these facts, you might not realize that there is a very strong connection between diabetes and your liver. Sure, you can avoid complications by taking certain medicines for diabetes, but you can only do so much. So if you’re diabetic (or prone to be one, at least), below are some diabetes-related liver problems which you should know about.
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver
Having a non-alcoholic fatty liver does not mean that a person who has it does not drink. It only means the patient’s liver problem is caused by other factors than alcohol. These factors override the alcohol cause, thus the reason why it is called non-alcoholic fatty liver. A liver is considered to be in great condition if it does not have any fat buildup within the liver. However, as the name suggests, having a non-alcoholic fatty liver means that your organ has developed some fat build-up.
The people who are at the highest risk for this liver condition tend to be overweight or diabetic. People with have high triglyceride (the fat found in your fat) levels are also susceptible. A fatty liver does not cause any serious damage but one of the complications it can cause is liver inflammation, which is also known as steotohepatitis. If the liver continues to be inflamed over a period of time, it can develop into cirrhosis.
As mentioned earlier, liver cirrhosis occurs when the liver is still inflamed after some time. One of the things notable in cirrhosis is the roughened liver surface, which is due to scar tissues taking the place of the smooth ones. Gradually, the liver will harden and deteriorate to a point that it would fail.
In one research, it was found out that liver cirrhosis is the fourth leading cause of death in diabetics, accounting for 4.4% of deaths. And according to their findings, factors that put you at risk of this liver disease include diabetes, genetic diseases, hepatitis, heavy alcohol usage, obesity, and exposure to toxins.
Liver cancer occurs when the abnormal cells of the liver grow in number and take over the liver. These cancerous cells are called hepatocellular carcinoma, which is the most common type of liver cancer. Cancer that originates from your liver’s ducts is called cholangiocarcinoma. The majority of liver cancer cases are secondary ones, meaning it originated from another part of your body.
There are numerous factors which may increase your chances for developing liver cancer but among the top causes are obesity, diabetes, cirrhosis, and hepatitis. And if you’re diabetic, heavy alcohol drinking could raises your chances to have liver cancer even more!
These liver diseases pose a threat to your health and well-being. So you’re at least prone to any of the factors that could lead to these illnesses (includes diabetes), then better make an appointment with your gastroenterologist to have your liver checked up. That way, you can detect any anomaly as soon as possible, which would make it easier to treat it.