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NAFLD prevalence rises

Category: Liver Diseases

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, who led the study. "It is imperative that health systems continue to drive effective educational programs to reinforce awareness among the general public."

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