Liver Donation if You Have Pre-diabetes or Metabolic Syndrome
What are pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome?
Pre-diabetes means your blood sugar (glucose) is higher than normal but not high enough to be diabetic. It raises your chance of getting diabetes.
Metabolic syndrome means you have 3 or more of these:
- Your waist measures over 40 inches if you were born a man, or over 35 inches if you were born a woman (waist circumference)
- Blood sugar level over 100 mg/dL before you eat anything in the morning (fasting glucose)
- High “bad” cholesterol levels:
- LDL over 130 mg/dL
- Triglycerides over 150 mg/dL
- “Good” cholesterol levels (HDL) less than 40 mg/dL if you were born a man, or less than 50 mg/dL if you were born a woman
- High blood pressure over 130/80 mm Hg
Both pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome raise your chance of having these health problems:
- Type 2 diabetes, which can make it harder for your liver to regrow after liver donation
- Heart disease
- Fatty liver (build-up of extra fat in your liver that can lead to scarring in your liver)
- Problems during or after liver donation surgery, such as your surgery site not healing well or a hernia (opening of the muscle at the surgery site)
What causes pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome?
Both conditions are closely related to being overweight or having obesity, and not being active.
How will I know if I have pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome?
As part of your living liver donor evaluation, you will have blood tests and imaging tests of your belly (abdomen) to see if you have pre-diabetes or any of the health conditions that are part of metabolic syndrome.
Can I donate if I have pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome?
If you have pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome, you may not be able to donate because it raises your chance of having a problem during or after donation surgery.
You may be able to donate if you take steps to reverse pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome, which means getting your levels back to healthy ranges. Talk with your doctor about ways to reverse pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome which may include to:
- Follow a healthy eating plan, in which you eat low-fat foods and fewer calories
- Be active most days of the week
- Lose weight
- Drink less alcohol
- Stop smoking if you are a current smoker