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Diabetes linked to liver disease

There is a 70% higher chance of diabetes sufferers dying from liver disease than those without the condition, new research has revealed.

Diabetes can raise the risk of some types of liver disease because poor blood sugar control can boost the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

This can cause scarring of the liver (also known as cirrhosis) and cancer.

The health records of people aged 35 to 84 were analysed by British researchers over a six-year period to 2007 for the study.

They compared 1,267 people with diabetes and 10,100 without the condition, who all died of liver disease.

The results showed that around one in four (24%) people with diabetes died of liver cancer compared with 9% of those without diabetes.

However, far more people without diabetes died from alcoholic liver disease (63%), than those with diabetes (38%).

Diabetic patients are advised not to drink too much alcohol due to its potential impact on blood sugar levels and the extra calories causing weight gain.

Overall, the study found people with diabetes were 70% more likely to die from liver disease.

Lead researcher, Dr Sarah Wild, from the University of Edinburgh, said: "Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease increases the risk of cirrhosis which in turn increases the risk of liver cancer.

"A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk and prevention is particularly important because the options for treatment are limited."

The research is being presented at the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Diabetes UK

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"Wow this sure sounds like a wake up call for us all!! Excellent
information, thank you" - Teresa Anderson, Canada