According to a new study, one of the most deadly forms of alcohol-related liver disease appears to be on the rise in the United States.
The new study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study looked at the data of over 34,000 people and found the incidence rate of alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) with at least Stage 2 fibrosis increased from 0.6% to 1.5% from 2001 to 2016, while the incidence rate of AFLD with Stage 3 or Stage 4 fibrosis increased from 0.1% to 0.2 %.
Study co-author Dr. Robert Wong from Alameda Health System–Highland Hospital in Oakland said, “This is a particularly concerning observation given that developing fibrosis is the strongest predictor of progression to cirrhosis, liver cancer and death.”
The researchers have also found a piece of evidence of an increasing number of deaths from cirrhosis, which are largely driven by alcoholic cirrhosis, among individuals between 25 and 34 years of age.
Dr. Wong said, “I think what triggered me to do this study was seeing a lot of patients with advanced alcoholic fatty liver disease.”
AFLD is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In 2010, roughly 250,000 deaths attributed to AFLD.
According to a liver disease specialist and assistant professor at the University of Michigan Dr. Elliot Tapper, “There have been studies in the last few years that suggest that amongst millennials, about 40 percent will report binge drinking in the past month.”
He added, “That means it’s basically become a part of the culture for the American millennial. There’s no historical precedent for that.” Dr. Tapper explained that binge drinking (7 to 14 drinks) intermittently is far worse for the liver than having a couple of drinks per day on a regular basis.