Fatty liver and Co: Diabetes increases the risk of dangerous liver problems

Fatty liver and Co: Diabetes increases the risk of dangerous liver problems

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Does Diabetes Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer?

Many people around the world suffer from diabetes. If we have diabetes, this also increases the risk of other health problems and diseases. According to a recent study, people with type 2 diabetes are at higher risk for dangerous liver diseases.

A study by Queen Mary University in London and the University of Glasgow has now shown that diabetes contributes to an increased risk of liver disease. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "BMC Medicine".

Data from 18 million people were analyzed

For their investigation, the researchers analyzed the data from 18 million people across Europe. Many people with potentially fatal cirrhosis and liver cancer have been found to also have diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes are particularly at risk for these diseases. A possible connection should be better monitored and investigated to prevent the progression of life-threatening diseases, the researchers emphasize.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is closely linked to diabetes

So-called alcohol-free fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects up to a quarter of people in the western world and is the most common cause of liver disease worldwide. The disease is closely linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes. General practitioners are often unaware of this, which often means that the disease is not diagnosed. For the majority, alcohol-free fatty liver disease is a harmless disease, but one in six people develop liver inflammation, which is referred to as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and can lead to liver damage and ultimately to liver cirrhosis and even liver cancer.

Type 2 diabetes favors aggressive liver diseases

Interventions and treatments could be improved by identifying the patients who may develop this more aggressive disease. In the investigation, the researchers compared each sick patient to 100 participants without such a diagnosis. More than 136,000 patients suffered from NAFLD and NASH. Patients were at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. The strongest association was observed when type 2 diabetes was previously diagnosed. Those affected developed serious liver disease more than so often. This suggests that diabetes could be a good predictor of liver diseases, the researchers explain.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver is often not diagnosed

The study's authors were surprised to find that the number of patients with recorded diagnoses of non-alcoholic fatty liver was much less than expected, which means that in many patients the disease was actually undiagnosed. Over the course of the study, some patients developed more advanced, life-threatening stages of the disease. This indicates that the disease was diagnosed very late. (as)

Author and source information

Video: What is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease NAFLD? (August 2022).