Diabetics unaware of potential nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Diabetics unaware of potential liver diseaseNonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is commonly found in those with type-2 diabetes and remains to be the most common form of liver disease. NAFLD results from a build-up of fat in the liver which can lead to fibrosis – scarring of the liver – and ultimately cirrhosis or liver failure. The Mayo Clinic reports that having type-2 diabetes increases your risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, so diabetics should become aware of this potential threat in order to prevent it.

In a recent study researchers acknowledged that the exact rate of NAFLD among those with type-2 diabetes is unknown. Researchers used non-invasive imaging techniques to estimate liver fat and stiffness in 100 diabetics. Prevalence of NAFLD was 65 percent and fibrosis was seen in seven percent of individuals.


Researchers note that NAFLD continues to remain unknown in type-2 diabetes and is often overlooked by primary care settings. Senior author, Rohit Loomba, said, “Screening asymptomatic diabetics could help prevent advanced liver damage and reduce liver-related complications and deaths.”

There are many common risk factors for diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, including obesity (being overweight), high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These factors can contribute to nonalcoholic fatty disease as well as type-2 diabetes, which is a possible reason as to why NAFLD cases are often seen in those with type-2 diabetes. Even if a person doesn’t have diabetes at first, NAFLD can contribute to its onset and vice versa.

The same lifestyle changes which can help you better manage your diabetes can go a long way in helping your liver and preventing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. These include:

  • Losing weight
  • Exercising
  • Managing blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Minimizing alcohol consumption – or eliminating it completely
  • Eating a balanced, healthy diet

Diabetics need to become more aware of the possible threat to their livers that diabetes places on them, and they also need to ask their doctors for screenings to ensure their livers maintain proper health. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can be symptomless, so it can continue for years, without being found, until it progresses to cirrhosis.


The latest findings were published in the Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Also read: Sedentary behavior contributes to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.


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