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Category: Liver Diseases
The number of people who received unhealthy liver panel test results increased significantly over the course of the last decade. Many experts blamed this on rising obesity rates, but new evidence suggests that this is not the only threat to the nation's liver health.
Researchers reported at the recent Digestive Diseases Week that there are hundreds of thousands of adults living with hepatitis C and many of these people may soon develop liver disease.
The team estimated that 200,000 people developed liver disease by 2008 as a result of hepatitis C infection. They projected that an additional 300,000 people will experience diminished liver function by 2015 due to the infection.
"This alarming finding places additional stress on an already overburdened healthcare system, which will need to prepare for an increase in patients suffering from advanced liver disease," said Ann Kwong, the vice president of hepatitis C franchise lead at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, the firm that conducted the study.
She added that identifying people who are infected with hepatitis C early can enable physicians to prevent the condition from progressing to a stage that threatens the health of the liver.
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