The impact of diabetes on the eye, kidney and blood vessels has long been known, but a new study suggests serious liver disease as another potential negative consequence.
Liane Porepa, Joel G. Ray and Paula Sanchez-Romeu used Ontario's massive database of medical claims to look into whether developing diabetes increases a person's risk of going on to have liver disease.
Their study included nearly 440,000 people aged 30 to 75 years with newly diagnosed diabetes over a 13 year period and a comparable group of just over two million adults without diabetes.,
It was found that newly diagnosed diabetics appear to have a 1.77 times greater risk of developing a serious liver condition than non-diabetics. This figure is arrived at after adjusting the data to try to remove the effects of differences in ages, income, health-care usage and pre-existing medical conditions like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The study also notes that diabetics with concomitant obesity or hypertension had the highest risk of liver disease.
The authors say evidence from the two pieces of research combined "edge forward the idea that diabetes may be harmful to the liver."
But they acknowledge it's not easy to tease out the potential influence of other conditions that often go hand in hand with Type 2 diabetes such as what's known as the metabolic syndrome. That is a term used to describe a basket of related health problems — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and excessive abdominal fat.
Porepa L, Ray JG, Sanchez-Romeu P, Booth GL. Newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus as a risk factor for serious liver disease. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2010 Jun 21. [Epub ahead of print]
You can do a lot to prevent or delay getting or to manage type 2 diabetes. Here are the basics:
- Watch your weight.
- Eat healthy.
- Be active.
- Control your blood pressure, cholesterol blood sugar levels
- Take your medication regularly, and
- Discuss with your doctor about screening screen for liver-related complications of diabetes