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World Liver Day 2022: How to protect your liver when you have diabetes

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World Liver Day 2022: Diabetes is a silent killer and damages more body functions than is apparent. If you have diabetes, your liver needs utmost care as not paying attention to this crucial organ could lead to a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which in turn may cause liver cirrhosis or scarring of the liver. Eating a well-balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables at regular intervals and staying active could play a key role in protecting your liver. (Also read: Nutrition tips for diabetes: How to create a healthy plate)

Diabetes is the second cause of liver failure and transplantation in India. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that impacts the way one’s body metabolizes sugar. It happens when the body becomes resistant to insulin. This can invite complications along with liver disease. Hence, one will not be able to do his/her daily activities with ease.

“Diabetes and obesity will not only lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) wherein excess fat builds up in the liver but also, a more severe form of NAFLD is known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Here, the liver fat triggers inflammation that creates scar tissue causing cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease over a period of time. Hence, one will need a liver transplant,” says Dr. Roy Patankar, Gastroenterologist and Director of Zen Multispecialty Hospital, Chembur, Mumbai.

There are no symptoms of liver disease until it’s too late hence making it hard to diagnose and treat the ailment early. This is the reason why majority of people with diabetes are unware of liver disease despite inflammation and even scarring. Liver cancer and liver failure are rampant in those having diabetes making it all the more important to monitor this disease.

Having liver disease can also trigger diabetes and go on to worsen the liver functioning.

“Your risk of having metabolic syndrome X – including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, obesity, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels – is higher if you’ve ever had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” says Dr Patankar.

How to take care of your liver when you have diabetes

* Manage your blood sugar levels by eating nutritious food and avoiding junk, processed sugary and canned food.

* Limit the intake of colas, sodas, fruit juices, sweets, bakery items, and candies.

* Eat at regular intervals in the quantity recommended by the expert.

* Whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables should be a part of your daily diet, exercise every day for about half an hour.

* You can do activities such as swimming, cycling, yoga, gymming, aerobics, running or jogging.

* Cut down on sodium and caffeine to keep high blood pressure in check. Say NO to smoking and alcohol. Get yourself screened as suggested by the doctor to catch the liver disease.

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