Diabetes not just affects our kidneys, but it may also affect our liver. High blood sugar levels can damage the liver cells and cause them to store more fat. Here are signs and symptoms one should not ignore.
Diabetic liver, also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is a condition that occurs when excess fat builds up in the liver of people with diabetes. NAFLD is the most common form of liver disease in the world, and it is estimated that up to 80% of people with type 2 diabetes have NAFLD.
How diabetes impacts the liver
Diabetes can impact the liver in a number of ways. First, people with diabetes have a higher risk of developing insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells do not respond properly to the hormone insulin. Insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels, and insulin resistance can lead to high blood sugar levels.
High blood sugar levels can damage the liver cells and cause them to store more fat. This can lead to the development of NAFLD. Second, people with diabetes are also more likely to have high cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels can also damage the liver cells and contribute to the development of NAFLD.
5 symptoms of diabetic liver
In the early stages of NAFLD, there are usually no symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, people may experience the following symptoms:
- Fatigue: Fatigue is a common symptom of many medical conditions, including NAFLD.
- Abdominal pain: People with NAFLD may experience pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. This pain is often dull and aching, but it can sometimes be sharp.
- Jaundice: Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes. It is a sign of liver damage.
- Hepatosplenomegaly: Hepatosplenomegaly is an enlargement of the liver and spleen. It is another sign of liver damage.
- Ascites: Ascites is a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. It is a sign of advanced liver disease.
Treatment for diabetic liver
There is no specific treatment for NAFLD. However, there are a number of things that people with NAFLD can do to improve their liver health, including:
- Losing weight: Losing weight can help to reduce the amount of fat in the liver.
- Controlling blood sugar levels: Controlling blood sugar levels can help to protect the liver cells from damage.
- Eating a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, can help to reduce the risk of NAFLD and other liver diseases.
- Exercising regularly: Exercising regularly can help to reduce the amount of fat in the liver and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Avoiding alcohol:Alcohol can damage the liver cells and worsen NAFLD.
People with NAFLD should also see their doctor regularly for monitoring and treatment of any complications.