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Risk for liver disease higher among Diabetics

Aside from the increased risk for heart disease and stroke, there is now growing evidence that also points to a higher risk for both liver disease and liver cancer among people with diabetes. Two recent studies reveal that patients with type 2 diabetes have double the risk of developing liver disease and possibly three times the risk of developing liver cancer compared to healthy individuals.

One of the studies, published in the journal Gastroenterology, followed over 170,000 patients with type 2 diabetes and over 650,000 patients without diabetes for 15 years. It was noted that patients with diabetes were almost twice as likely to have chronic liver disease compared to patients without diabetes. While researchers are still unclear whether the liver disease was directly caused by diabetes or if the liver function caused the diabetes, they nevertheless recommend regular testing of liver enzymes for patients with diabetes.

Another study, published in the journal Gut, compared 2,061 patients with liver cancer and 6,000 patients without liver cancer. Researchers found that 43 percent of the liver cancer patients also had diabetes, while in the cancer-free group, only 19 percent had diabetes. When other factors were taken into consideration, including alcohol consumption, it was found that patients with diabetes are three times more at risk of developing liver cancer compared with healthy individuals.

Researchers of both studies emphasize the importance for those with diabetes to keep watch of their liver health.

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