Research from the University of Edinburgh shows how routine liver tests can be used to predict people with type 2 diabetes that are at higher risk of developing chronic liver disease.
922 people with type 2 diabetes, who were selected from the Lothian Diabetes Register, were monitored over four years as part of the study which is being presented at Diabetes UK’s Annual Professional Conference.
Results of the study showed that abnormal liver test results provided a strong prediction of the development of chronic liver disease. In addition, death from liver disease was shown to be 70 per cent more common in people with type 2 diabetes.
Currently, liver tests are taken for people with type 2 diabetes but there is no formal guidance as to how clinicians should treat patients with abnormal results. As a consequence, patients only become diagnosed with liver disease once it has advanced to a serious stage.
Liver disease is the fifth largest cause of death in the UK and the research shows that substantial numbers of people with type 2 diabetes have abnormal liver enzymes, putting them at higher risk of chronic liver disease later in life. In type 2 diabetes, chronic liver disease is usually brought on by an excessive build up of fat within the cells of the liver and can lead to further complications including cirrhosis, liver cancer and death.
The results of the Edinburgh study can be used to provide better management of the risks of fatty liver by informing guidance towards the monitoring and treatment of this important condition.
Research has shown that well controlled diabetes is associated with lower risks of developing liver problems. To help people with type 2 diabetes to achieve lower HbA1c levels, has launched an innovative education programme which provides test strips and guidance on how to use blood glucose testing to inform changes that improve diabetes control.
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