Health Sachet No 302:

Diabetes is known to cause many problems. Here are a few more and serious ones at that: Fatty Liver, Liver Cirrhosis and Liver Fibrosis.

In the study of diabetic patients, which excluded those who were alcoholic or had hepatitis, 73% of patients had fatty liver and 18% had severe liver cirrhosis or liver fibrosis (liver becomes stiff). Compared to normal people, the risk for the liver problems was 3.5 times for diabetics. A big reason to get your diabetes in control.

If you add obesity to diabetes, that is, in patients with Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥ 30, the problem was worse. 95% of them had fatty liver, and 35% had severe liver cirrhosis or fibrosis.

Interestingly, half of these liver problem patients had normal SGOT/SGPT levels. So you cannot use the standard Liver Profile blood tests to check for fatty liver. Even liver ultrasound can not tell a fatty liver with certainty.

Then, how do you check for liver disease? Liver biopsy is the only sureshot way.

Once NAFLD (fatty liver) becomes inflamed or swollen (called NASH), or worse, cirrhotic (liver shrinks and hardens), it is irreversible and could further lead to liver cancer.

If you are a diabetic, get rid of your obesity (reach BMI ≤ 25, at the very least) and get physically very active, before it gets too late.



Photo Credit: By BruceBlaus (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons