Methods of Treatment
As mentioned before, the connection between issues with the liver and diabetes pose a Catch 22 since one seems to exacerbate the other. Plus, if one or the other worsens, then treating either condition becomes rather challenging due to drug interactions and effects on metabolism. Thus, prevention appears to be the first line of defense when dealing with conditions of the liver and diabetes. However, doctors have recommended treatments based on studies of patients who suffer from both conditions concurrently. Some of these methods have proven to be effective when it comes to managing both conditions, but all require the utmost cooperation from the patient in regard to dietary habits and other practices. The primary method of management involve lifestyle changes. Some of the changes include the following:
- Avoidance of alcohol—the high amount of calories and carb are bad enough if one has diabetes but also, alcohol could cause severe liver damage as well as interact negatively with medications.
- Low-calorie/low-glycemic diets—weight loss or management is ideal for managing glycemic levels and protecting liver function; however low-fat diets are not encouraged due to the malnutrition that almost 50% of patients with liver disease suffer. Some healthcare professionals are taking a second look at the Mediterranean Diet because of its emphasis on dietary fiber gained from vegetables and whole grains along with the “good” fats that are derived from olives, avocados, and fish. Less intake of red meat and minimal amount of white meat is also recommended. This can greatly reduce one’s cholesterol level.
- Pharmacologic Treatment—for the most part, the same variety of medicines normally used to treat diabetes can still be employed for the patient who also suffers from liver disease. Some of the treatments that impact metabolism might also aid in the battle against high cholesterol, especially if the promote weight loss. At the same time, doctors are still vigilant about drug interactions and overall effect on liver health. One such example is metformin, which is not an option for patients with severe hepatic disease due to a high risk of lactic acidosis. Aside from that factor, recent studies have shown it to beneficial for those who have fatty liver disease.