(Reuters Health) – The only liver disease becoming more widespread in the U.S. is one driven by obesity and diabetes, even as other types of liver disorders linked to drinking or hepatitis are becoming less common, researchers say.
For the study, researchers examined nationwide health survey data collected in five cycles between 1988 and 2016. Over this period, the proportion of adults with what’s known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) rose from 20% to 28.3%, mirroring increases in rates of obesity and diabetes over the same period.
“Liver disease in the United States is experiencing a shift away from viral hepatitis to NAFLD,” said Dr. Zobair Younossi MD, lead author of the study and chair of the department of medicine at Enova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia.
“This is primarily driven by the epidemic of obesity and diabetes,” Younossi said by email. “This is important to patients because NAFLD can be a silent disease for decades.”
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