By Amy Orciari Herman
The prevalence of alcoholic fatty liver disease with moderate-to-severe fibrosis doubled in the U.S. over a 15-year period, according to a research letter in JAMA.
Examining data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, researchers found that the prevalence of alcoholic fatty liver disease was stable from 2001-2002 through 2015-2016, at roughly 4.5%. However, disease with stage 2 or greater fibrosis increased from 0.6% to 1.5%, and that with stage 3 or greater fibrosis increased from 0.1% to 0.2%.
The researchers write, “This is a particularly concerning observation given that developing fibrosis is the strongest predictor of progression to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death.” They call for “greater awareness of unhealthy alcohol use and … early prevention and intervention efforts.”