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How Diabetes Affects The Liver

Diabetes affects the liver in the sense that it increases the risk of developing liver diseases. Diabetes is now the most common cause of liver disease in the U.S., especially among type 2 diabetics. Diabetics that have had diabetes for ten years or more have the highest risk for developing liver disease and liver cancer, with type 2 diabetes being associated with the development of many liver disorders including:

• Elevated liver enzymes
• Cirrhosis (nonalcoholic)
• fatty liver disease (nonalcoholic)
• hepatocellular carcinoma (Liver cancer)
• Acute liver failure

Medical conditions that are related to diabetes, such as central obesity and high cholesterol can increase the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and it should be noted that some medications that are used to lower cholesterol may cause liver damage.

The Importance of the Liver

Believe it or not, next to your heart, the liver is your body's most important organ and keeping your liver clean can help to reduce the risk of developing liver disease. This is because everything we eat and drink that has passed from the small intestine and into the bloodstream through digestion, must first pass through our liver. All of the blood flow coming from the small intestines that is carrying the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and even those things we don't want, must first pass through the portal vein and into the liver, either to be processed for use by the body or made harmless and excreted from the body.

The liver also stores glucose in the form of "glycogen" which is then converted back to glucose again when "glucagon" a hormone produced by the pancreas, signals the liver to release stored glycogen as needed for energy. Your liver also plays important roles in metabolic functions in relation to the metabolism of protein and fats, and the storage of fat soluble vitamins. The liver is the body's second largest organ and acts as a filter and detoxifier by removing or metabolizing toxins that we may ingest such as, harmful chemicals that may be in our food, pollutants in the water we drink, or drug and alcohol abuse. The liver can also remove dangerous bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, particulate debris and metabolic waste from the tremendous amount of blood that passes through it on a daily basis.

The best strategy for someone with diabetes to fight liver disease is:

• Consider using a Liver Cleanse at least three times a year
• Monitor and maintain tight control of blood sugar levels
• Work to maintain a healthy weight
• Reduce and control high cholesterol
• Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
• See your primary care physician and have regular testing of your liver function and enzymes
• Because some medications can damage the liver, ask your physician about any medications you are on, and ask to see if there are any alternatives.

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