An important organ in located in the upper right position of the abdomen, liver stands out as the largest body organ found inside the body (the skin is largest of all). It is dark reddish in colour and weighs 3 pounds.
The liver is a vital body organ that has been assigned a number of tasks – fat digestion, storing of glucose, as well as being the center of all activities associated with cleaning the body. If you have a poorly functioning liver, chances are that you could develop type 2 diabetes and in high blood cholesterol level victims, it aggravates the condition.
It is true that doctors have an idea of how the liver performs its duties; however, they may not know everything concerning this crucial organ. This is because it is in charge of numerous duties; some specialists put the number as high as 500 of them.
How the liver works on fats and carbohydrates: glucose store
Naturally, the liver is guided by insulin and it changes in behavior depending on the amount of insulin and how it sensitizes itself to this insulin change in the body. After meals, it is common knowledge that the level of blood sugar rises, compelling the pancreas to produce insulin and discharge if into the blood stream. This is a healthy occurrence in people who are not diabetic. Insulin in this case acts as a signal to the body to soak up the extra glucose from the blood for use as energy in different body cells.
However, when it comes to blood sugar, liver has a specific duty all together. During the rise of the levels of glucose (and later insulin), the liver promptly responds to this by simply soaking in the glucose. It heaps the sugar into small bundles referred to as glycogen and stores the extra glucose (glucose warehouse).
When the levels of glucose in the blood drops, the production of insulin also goes down. When this happens, the liver is signalled to release some of its deposits – thus freeing the stored glucose into the blood to make the body feel full between meals and during the night. The liver distributes its glucose deposits and its capability to manufacture glucose is what sustains people during famine. However, the liver does not produce glucose in a normal way in diabetics and this brings about a big challenge to the management of blood glucose.
It is important to note that the liver does not directly establish the presence of glucose levels in the blood; it simply reacts to the signals by insulin and in case it does not recognize the presence of insulin, it acts on the assumption that more glucose is required by the body regardless of whether there is already an elevated level of it in the blood.
This therefore means that people with diabetes will exhibit extremely high levels of blood sugar even when they are not eating – for instance after waking up in the morning. In this case, the liver plays a critical role in the acute presencesof high levels of blood sugar in diabetic ketoacidosis (acute shortages of insulin making it hard for the body to process glucose for fuel) victims. This therefore forces the body to use the fats making the ketones produced during the breaking of these fats by the liver.
Facts about fats
The key function of the liver is to process body fats and once it is satisfied with the amount of glycogen, it embarks on changing the absorbed glucose into fatty acids to be stored for future use. In this case, the cholesterol and fatty acids are collected as fatty parcels and sent to various parts of the body through the blood stream and much of it ends up in the body fatty tissues.
The extra fat can lead to fattening of the liver itself causing nonalcoholic liver diseases prevalent in non-heavy drinkers. This causes the liver cells to gather extra fat instead of releasing it to the fat cells. It is estimated to affect 20% of people (adults) suffering from diabetes or those who are obese or it can be present in both. It is therefore required that your doctor examines your blood to establish whether you have a malfunctioning liver. The probable method or biopsy used here is the imaging techniques.
However, in most people, a fattened liver does not necessarily have to exhibit any signs and symptoms. But when problems associated with it occur, the effects can be critically lethal. In severe case, the possibility of patients developing cirrhosis is heightened. This is characterized by malfunctioning and scarring of the liver and in such cases, liver transplant may be the only option to remedy the condition.
Save the Liver
Considering the relation between the liver and diabetes, it is necessary for people who are diabetic to let their doctors focus on ensuring that their liver is well functioning by using the liver function test. People who are overweight (especially where most of the weight is accumulated on their belly) are highly at risk of developing liver complications and therefore they need to be closely examined.
Studies indicate that currently there exists no standard method for liver treatment; however, scientists are working hard to develop medication. In this case, a doctor may suggest healthy dieting, weight loss and physical exercise as the only ways to manage the blood glucose levels.