New data show non-alcoholic fatty liver disease will reach epidemic status in the US

April 2, 2011

According to new data presented today at the International Liver Congress, the United States (U.S.) could soon be faced with an epidemic of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)1, one of the major contributing factors of chronic liver disease (CLD), considered as one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The study highlights that if the current rates of obesity and diabetes continue for another two decades, the prevalence of NAFLD in the US is expected to increase by 50% in 2030.

The study analysed pre-existing clinical survey data over a 10 year period (1988-1994, 1999-2004 and 2005-2008), which included 39,500 adults from three survey cycles. Over the three cycles the prevalence of NAFLD doubled from 5.51% to 11.0% respectively. Furthermore, during the first survey cycle (1988-1994) 46.8% of all CLD's was related to NAFLD but by 2005-2008 this had increased to 75.1%. In addition, the prevalence of and diabetes, the two key risk factors for NAFLD also steadily increased.

Mark Thursz EASL's Vice Secretary commented: "Non-alcoholic is fast becoming one of the top concerns for clinicians due to the and it's potential to progress to advanced liver disease which significantly impacts on overall liver-related mortality. 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 programmes to reinforce awareness among the general public to alert them of the risks of obesity and promote the importance of diet and exercise".

NAFLD is the term used to describe fat build-up in 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%.2

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.3

More information: References

1. Younossi Z et al., The Changing Face of Chronic Liver Disease (CLD) in the United States: The Rising Epidemic of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Presented at The International Liver Congress 2011. www1.easl.eu/easl2011/program/Orals/204.htm

2. Understanding and Preventing the Progression of Liver Disease in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Fatty Liver Inhibition of Progression (FLIP) www.flip-fp7.eu/ . Accessed March 2011.

3. Fatty Liver. Patient UK. Available at www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Steat … is-(Fatty-Liver).htm . Accessed March 2011.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Novel approach to track HIV infection

August 18, 2017
Northwestern Medicine scientists have developed a novel method of tracking HIV infection, allowing the behavior of individual virions—infectious particles—to be connected to infectivity.

Faulty gene linked to obesity in adults

August 18, 2017
Groundbreaking new research linking obesity and metabolic dysfunction to a problem in the energy generators in cells has been published by researchers from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and The University ...

Two lung diseases killed 3.6 million in 2015: study

August 17, 2017
The two most common chronic lung diseases claimed 3.6 million lives worldwide in 2015, according to a tally published Thursday in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

New test differentiates between Lyme disease, similar illness

August 16, 2017
Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. But it can be confused with similar conditions, including Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness. A team of researchers led by Colorado ...

Addressing superbug resistance with phage therapy

August 16, 2017
International research involving a Monash biologist shows that bacteriophage therapy – a process whereby bacterial viruses attack and destroy specific strains of bacteria - can be used successfully to treat systemic, multidrug ...

Can previous exposure to west Nile alter the course of Zika?

August 15, 2017
West Nile virus is no stranger to the U.S.-Mexico border; thousands of people in the region have contracted the mosquito-borne virus in the past. But could this previous exposure affect how intensely Zika sickens someone ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.