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Liver disease may be more common cause of death than stats reflect

Category: Liver Diseases

An increased number of individuals may benefit from liver testing in light of recent findings that suggest liver-related diseases may actually be one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic said that chronic liver disease currently ranks as the 12th leading cause of death, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, when viral hepatitis, liver cancer and obesity-related fatty liver disease are added, liver problems actually rank as the fourth leading cause of death.

"There are a large number of people with hepatitis C in the U.S.," said Ray Kim, who led the study. "Also, associated with the 'obesity epidemic,' a large number of individuals have fatty liver disease. In order to discover the true impact of liver disease on the population, we analyzed mortality data using these more comprehensive criteria."

Kim said that the numbers suggest that obese individuals and patients who are being treated for hepatitis should receive regular liver testing to make sure that they are not going to develop a deadly condition.

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