“Increasingly, we are realizing that the connection is no coincidence, and there is greater recognition by endocrinologists that obesity-related fat in the liver is not simply an innocent bystander,” says Dr. Juan Frias, M.D., an endocrinologist with the National Research Institute in Los Angeles. “This is a problem that hits home. When you get fatty liver disease, diabetes may be more difficult to control.”
Research indicates that NAFLD may actually contribute to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Because the liver plays such an important role in regulating the body’s blood sugar, the buildup of fat in the vital organ makes it harder to control glucose levels. It also makes the body more resistant to insulin, straining the pancreas and its beta cells and potentially speeding up the arrival of type 2 diabetes.
“Losing weight plays a critical role in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. A healthy diet and increased activity resulting in weight loss can significantly reduce liver fat in patients with NAFLD,” explains Dr. Frias. “A five percent loss of body weight is enough to start reducing liver fat. With weight loss, a lot of things get better.”
The American Diabetes Association recommends maintaining a healthy weight, and regular exercise to reduce the amount of fat in your liver and for better control of your blood sugar levels.
Laurent Sandrin, M.D., founder of Echosens, points to American Diabetes Month as an opportune time for raising public awareness of this correlation, emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis and the introduction of lifestyle changes to halt or reverse NAFLD.
“Even though the majority of people with type 2 diabetes may have excess fat in their livers, the condition is typically undiagnosed, because of a lack of awareness among some doctors and the hidden nature of the disease,” says Dr. Sandrin. “With the introduction of innovative technology, such as FibroScan, this seemingly insurmountable challenge can be addressed.”
A painless, non-invasive quick test that requires less than 10 minutes, FibroScan is used to measure the amount of liver stiffness and detect NAFLD in its earliest stages while the individual may be asymptomatic. It can be used to rule out the need for further assessment, like a painful liver biopsy, saving time and resources for people who don’t need further assessment.
“Obesity directly correlates with type 2 diabetes and is one indicator that the liver may be fatty,” continues Dr. Sandrin. “But NAFLD is stealth and very hard to detect, often eluding blood tests and physical exams. FibroScan changes this landscape without the use of X-rays or invasive testing, providing reliable information for healthcare decision-making.”
Nationwide, more than half of adults with NAFLD are obese, and 30 percent or more are overweight. Conversely, obesity is responsible for causing about 85 percent of fatty liver disease.
About National Research Institute
Located in Los Angeles, Huntington Park and Panorama City, CA, National Research Institute has provided free quality medical care to patients with diabetes and performed clinical studies for patients with diabetes, obesity, fatty liver disease and other medical conditions for over 30 years. https://nritrials.com/