TUESDAY, May 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The prevalence of alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) has remained stable among U.S. adults, affecting 4.7 percent of adults in 2015 to 2016, according to a research letter published online May 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Terrence Wong, M.D., from Highland Hospital in Oakland, California, and colleagues used 2001 to 2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data to estimate the national prevalence of AFLD among U.S. adults. AFLD was identified based on alcohol use and elevated liver enzyme levels in the absence of elevated total bilirubin level and after excluding hepatitis B and C infections.
The researchers found that 4.3 percent of the 34,423 respondents were identified as having AFLD. The prevalence of AFLD remained stable from 2001-2002 to 2015-2016, with a nonsignificant increase from 4.3 to 4.7 percent (P = 0.69). There was an increase in the prevalence of AFLD with stage 2 or greater fibrosis (from 0.6 to 1.5 percent; P < 0.001) and in AFLD with stage 3 or greater fibrosis (from 0.1 to 0.2 percent; P = 0.045).
“The increasing prevalence of U.S. adults with AFLD with stage 2 or greater fibrosis and AFLD with stage 3 or greater fibrosis is concerning and emphasizes the need for greater awareness of unhealthy alcohol use and need for early prevention and intervention efforts,” the authors write.
One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
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