US Deaths From Liver Disease Rising Rapidly

22 Juillet, 2018, 15:22 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Young man with a bottle of alcohol

Researchers at the University of MI found that people ages 25 to 34 experienced a more than 10 percent spike in deaths due to cirrhosis, an irreversible scarring of the liver, between 2009 and 2016 - the highest of any age group in the study.

"The rapid rise in liver deaths underscores gaps in care and opportunities for prevention", says Parikh, study co-author and liver specialist at Michigan Medicine.

From 2009 to 2016, people aged 25 to 34 had the highest annual increase in cirrhosis deaths - almost 11 percent.

The study suggests that a new generation of Americans is being afflicted "by alcohol misuse and its complications", said lead author Elliot Tapper, a liver specialist at the University of MI.

"So, for a woman, no more than one alcoholic drink in a day and for a man no more than two drinks in a day is safe", she said. In fact, according to report author Jiaquan Xu, the 10-year liver cancer survival rate didn't change that much. The more toxins, sugars and fats consumed, the harder it has to work.

Offering his perspective on the findings, Raymond T. Chung, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, told MedPage Today that the steady rise in liver disease mortality may partly be due to complications of the hepatitis C epidemic and to the high frequency of fatty liver disease in the USA population.

Americans dying of liver disease, doctors blaming alcohol drinking, the report said. He said that he routinely sees patients going "from the sickest of the sick to living well, working and enjoying their life".

"We had long, tearful conversations", Tapper says, "but he continued to struggle with alcohol addiction".

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The study examined death rates in several demographic groups - divided by age, race, place of residence and gender - using death certificate data and census data.

That mortality due to cirrhosis began increasing in 2009 - around the time of the Great Recession when the economic downturn led to loss of people's savings, homes and jobs - may offer a clue as to its cause. However, the overall increases in mortality for both parties showed 40% for women and 43% for men.

"From 2000 through 2016, death rates increased significantly for both men and women, with the death rate for men between two and two and a half times the rate for women", the report's summary states.

Between 1999 and 2016, overall deaths in the USA caused by cirrhosis surged 65 percent, according to the study. Some conditions that cause liver trouble, like hepatitis C, have been falling.

"Scar tissue is silent, developing silently, and they [the patients] don't know". And so, in order to prevent these deaths, Tapper said that steps should be taken like increasing the price of alcohol or diagnosing the liver cirrhosis with the help of the existing blood tests. As the condition worsens, symptoms can include fever, vomiting, bruising and bleeding easily, and jaundice or yellowing of the skin.

Elliot Tapper, lead author and an assistant professor at the University of MI specializing in the study of the liver, noted that "alcohol misuse and its complications" are affecting a new generation of Americans.

Death rates in the US have doubled from 2000 to 2016.

People so young might not even realize that they can drink themselves to death so quickly, but they can, said liver specialist Dr. Haripriya Maddur of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

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