The European Association for the Study of the Liver researchers who conducted the study projected that unless something is done to curb rising diabetes and obesity rates….
Fifty percent of all US adults could have Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) by the year 2030.
Individuals who have diabetes or are overweight may benefit from seeking liver testing. A new study presented at the International Liver Conference has shown that these conditions are behind a major increase in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD.
NAFLD is characterized by deposits of fat in the liver. This can cause scarring of the organ, which can impair its function and lead to chronic liver disease and liver failure.
The European Association for the Study of the Liver researchers who conducted the study projected that unless something is done to curb rising diabetes and obesity rates, 50 percent of all U.S. adults could have NAFLD by the year 2030.
To arrive at this conclusion, the researchers collected data from previous surveys of more than 39,500 individuals. During the 10-year study period, the overall prevalence of NAFLD jumped from 5.5 percent to 11 percent. Additionally, the percentage of chronic liver disease cases that stemmed from NAFLD increased from 46.8 percent to 75.1 percent.
“This data highlights a serious concern for the future, and the enormous increasing health burden of NAFLD,” said Mark Thurz, EASl’s Vice Secretary, who led the study. “It is imperative that health systems continue to drive effective educational programs to reinforce awareness among the general public
“Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is fast becoming one of the top concerns for clinicians due to the obesity epidemic and its potential to progress to advanced liver disease which significantly impacts on overall liver-related mortality.”
Thusz said this data highlights a serious concern for the future, and the enormous increasing health burden of NAFLD.
“If the obesity epidemic is anything to go by, the U.S. NAFLD epidemic may have a ripple effect worldwide. It is imperative that health systems continue to drive effective educational programs to reinforce awareness among the general public to alert them of the risks of obesity and promote the importance of diet and exercise,” he said.
NAFLD is the term used to describe fat build-up in liver cells in people who do not drink alcohol excessively and is the most common persistent liver disorder in Western countries with an estimated overall prevalence of 20-30%.
NAFLD encompasses a spectrum of liver disease associated with insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity, and as such people most at risk of NAFLD are those who are obese, have insulin resistance associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Presented March 31, 2011 at the International Liver Congress In the U.S