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Effect of fatty liver disease on diabetes and its care

The build-up of fat in the liver reduces the effect of insulin, i.e. it causes insulin resistance and increases the need for insulin – both insulin produced by the body and injected insulin.

The build-up of fat in the liver is typical of type 2 diabetes. The insulin resistance resulting from fatty liver increases the need for insulin and typically manifests itself at night as a rise in blood sugar. Even if the blood sugar level was good when going to bed, it can easily be high in the morning. The insulin secreted by the pancreas is not enough to control the release of sugar stored in the liver during the night. At the same time, the liver releases extra fat into the bloodstream, increasing the blood triglyceride level.

In a person with type 1 diabetes, putting on weight and abdominal obesity may also result in fatty liver. Then, the need for injected insulin increases and the individual has to increase their insulin doses. This can easily lead to increased weight gain and the occurrence of a metabolic syndrome.

The liver affects the way most medicines work, and liver diseases must be taken into consideration in the use of diabetes medicines and other pharmaceutical products.

Updated 30.9.2023