Alcohol is the biggest cause, but nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is catching up
A recent population-based study in a small town in Southern Italy found that one in eight residents had abnormal liver tests. While alcohol consumption was the most common causative factor, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an increasingly prevalent source of the problem. The study is published in the May 2005 issue of Hepatology, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., the journal is available online via Wiley InterScience at www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology.
Chronic liver disease is a serious public health issue in many communities. It can be caused by high alcohol consumption, hepatitis B and C, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition associated with obesity, insulin resistance, high cholesterol and the like. The importance of these causative factors varies from one location to another. For example, in the U.S., the majority of altered liver enzymes are related to NAFLD, while in northern Italian populations, much is related to alcohol. Factors leading to liver disease had not been thoroughly studied in Southern Italy, so researchers, led by Gaspare Maria Pendino of Reggio Calabria, assessed the prevalence and etiology of altered liver tests in the general population of Cittanova, a small southern Italian town.
David Greenberg | EurekAlert!
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