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Diabetes Health

Can Diabetes Medication Affect the Liver?

The liver plays an important role in managing blood sugar levels in the body. The liver both stores and produces glucose when there are low glucose levels in the body. When food is eaten, the blood sugar levels tend to rise. In order to manage these increased blood sugar levels, the pancreas secretes insulin to reduce the excess glucose levels. When there is a period of starving, for example in the night while sleeping or the duration between meals, blood sugar levels tend to lower. To avoid hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar levels, the liver temporarily releases glucose to bring the levels to normal.

Diabetes or uncontrolled blood sugar levels may increase the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).A recent comparative study has tried to find the effects of two different Diabetes medications in conditions like impaired liver functioning and hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer. The research study was conducted on metformin and sulphonylureas, two commonly prescribed medication for people with Type 2 Diabetes. The study and the outcomes were discussed at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

The study was conducted on 458 people with a known history of NAFLD, of which 305 people had Type 2 Diabetes. The study has found that metformin has better outcomes on the liver than sulphonylureas. It was seen that metformin improves liver health and prevents the risk of cirrhosis. The study has revealed that people with NAFLD and Type 2 Diabetes are three times more at risk of death than those without Diabetes. Other Diabetes medications are currently being studied in the light of their long-term effect on the liver.

Source: Discussions at The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases

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