Type 2 Diabetes Increases Risk of Developing Serious Liver Disease

Study highlights importance of a healthy lifestyle in patients with diabetes.

People with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of developing serious liver disease than those without, a recent study found.

Research published in the Journal of Hepatology examined patients with diabetes and liver diseases from anonymized, securely linked hospital records and death records, over a 10-year period in Scotland.

The results of the study showed that type 2 diabetes patients with liver disease have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is commonly linked to obesity and is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Men with type 2 diabetes were 3 times more likely to develop NAFLD than men without diabetes. Among women, fewer cases of liver disease and type 2 diabetes were found, however, there was still a 5 times greater risk of developing NAFLD.

“We have shown for the first time that type 2 diabetes is an important novel risk factor that increases numbers of hospital admissions and deaths, in people with all common chronic liver diseases,” said researcher Chris Byrne. “Further research is now needed to determine whether all patients with type 2 diabetes should be screened for common chronic liver diseases.”

In order to avoid further complications with NAFLD, researchers recommend patients avoid drinking alcohol. Additionally, to avoid developing these conditions, individuals should eat healthy foods and partake in regular exercise.

“Preventing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by avoiding unhealthy lifestyles in both people with and without diabetes is important because it is difficult to treat the complications of this condition,” said researcher Sarah Wild.