Living with Fatty Liver and NASH

Fatty liver disease fastest-growing reason for transplants in young U.S. adults

Fatty liver disease fastest-growing reason for transplants in young U.S. adults

This article shows why we desperately need new treatments and help with lifetyle change for Fatty Liver and NASH.

By Carolyn Crist October 29, 2017

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and its more aggressive form, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, have become the fastest-growing reasons for liver transplants in young Americans, according to a recent study.

Typically, older adults experience the slow progression of fatty liver disease that is not related to alcohol but can lead ultimately to liver cirrhosis. As a result of increasing childhood obesity, hypertension and diabetes, however, more young adults are reaching end-stage liver disease early in life, researchers say.

“I see kids at ages 7 and 8 with this problem, and one of my youngest patients developed cirrhosis at 13,” said senior study author Naim Alkhouri, who directs the metabolic program at the Texas Liver Institute in San Antonio.

“In Texas in particular, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is the No. 1 indicator for transplants in adults,” he said in a phone interview. “It now affects 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 10 children.”

Alkhouri and colleagues analyzed nationwide data from the United Network for Organ Sharing on liver transplants in young adults between 2002 and 2012 to examine the reasons they needed a transplant.

During those years, there were 5,157 transplants in people ages 18 to 40, of whom 23 percent were obese, the researchers found. The top reason for transplant, accounting for 25 percent, was autoimmune/cholestatic liver disease, which includes conditions such as bile duct infections, immune system-related hepatitis, hereditary bile duct problems and drug-related liver damage.

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Childhood obesity is rapidly leading to a generation whose life expectancy is less than that of their parents. Recent studies from Sweden and China that followed large number of children for many years and recorded their BMI as they grew up found that their risk for developing liver disease and/or diabetes was up to 4 times greater for the obese kids.

Something to consider if you are a parent. A case can be made the raising an obese child is actually a case of child endangerment. Knowingly harming a child is a crime in many places. Just a little food for thought. Here is a link which touches on the subject.