Diabetes increased by one third during the 1990s, due to the prevalence of obesity and an ageing population. By 2025, the prevalence of diabetes is expected to more than double in Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, and South-East Asia, and rise by 20 per cent in Europe and 50 per cent in North America, according to the International Diabetes Federation.
Writing in the February issue of Gastroenterology, researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the US National Institutes of Health note that a link between diabetes and liver disease was previously known but it was not clear whether diabetes caused liver disease or vice versa.
In a prospective cohort study of 173,643 patients with diabetes and 650,620 patients without diabetes, the researchers found the incidence of chronic liver disease and cancer of the liver in diabetics was about twice the incidence that of patients without diabetes.
Liver disease associated with diabetes is usually insidious, asymptomatic and goes undetected until a severe condition, such as liver cancer, occurs.
Diet is known to play a significant role in prevention of type 2 diabetes by reducing one of the major risk factors, obesity.