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Liver Diseases: A Huge European Health Burden, But Some Trends are Positive
Date:4/23/2008

on. When uncontrollable complications of cirrhosis occur, or when damage precludes sufficient liver function, a liver transplant becomes necessary. Cirrhosis is the major risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a primary cancer of liver cells, which may also require transplantation.

Estimates suggest 10 million carriers of viral hepatitis in Europe, of which over 8 million are infected with HCV. Although statistics vary widely by country, HCV accounts for a large (or in some countries, majority) proportion of all cases of cirrhosis and HCC. Although precise figures are not available, alcoholic liver disease is a growing problem in both Western and Eastern Europe, in part because of changing lifestyles and the increasing numbers of women and adolescents who drink to excess (a problem that in the past was largely a phenomenon of adult males). The Dionysos study, conducted in Northern Italy, reported that 4% of the population had alcoholic liver disease of varying severity. Alcoholic liver disease is the second most common indication for liver transplantation, after HCV. NAFLD and NASH denote fatty infiltration of the liver that are not due to excessive alcohol, and are related instead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome. These abnormalities are now receiving considerable attention not only because they may progress to liver cirrhosis, but also as additional risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The best current estimates suggest that in the general population NAFLD can be found in 3% to 24% of adults.

Despite improved prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, the overall costs of liver disease remain very high because of an increase prevalence of selected conditions, and the common progression to a chronic state possibly leading to life-threatening complications.

About EASL

The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) aims to promote investigation into liver dis
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SOURCE EASL - European Association for the Study of the Liver
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