How Many People Have Liver Disease?

  • More than 100 million people in the U.S. have some form of liver disease. 4.5 million U.S. adults (1.8%) have been diagnosed with liver disease. But it is estimated that 80-100 million adults in the U.S. have fatty liver disease and many do not know they have it.
  • Left untreated, liver disease can lead to liver failure and liver cancer.
  • In 2020, 51,642 adults in the U.S. died from liver disease (15.7 per 100,000 population).
  • Chronic liver disease/cirrhosis was the 12th leading cause of death in the U.S in 2020.
  • In 2019, chronic liver disease was the 8th leading cause of death for non-Hispanic African American/Black people aged 45–64 years old.
  • A 2016 study compared general liver disease/cirrhosis prevalence rates by racial/ethnic categories, as follows: Japanese Americans (6.9%); Hispanic/Latino persons (6.7%); White persons (4.1%); African American/Black and Native Hawaiian persons (3.9%).
    • In that study, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) was the most common cause of liver disease/cirrhosis among all groups. The most common causes of cirrhosis by ethnicity were: NAFLD in Japanese American, Native Hawaiian, and Hispanic/Latino persons; alcoholic liver disease (ALD) in White persons; and hepatitis C in African American/Black persons.
  • Cirrhosis is a long-term liver disease. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver, when scar tissue replaces healthy tissue, causing damage and reducing the liver’s functioning. Cirrhosis is most often caused by: hepatitis and other viruses; long-term alcohol abuse; and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
  • Risk factors for liver disease include: heavy alcohol use; obesity; type 2 diabetes; tattoos or body piercings; injecting drugs using shared needles; had a blood transfusion before 1992; exposure to other people's blood and body fluids; unprotected sex; exposure to certain chemicals or toxins; and family history of liver disease.
  • Cirrhosis increases the risk for stroke. Stroke incidence was 2.17% (95% CI, 1.99%-2.36%) per year in patients with cirrhosis and 1.11% (95% CI, 1.10%-1.11%) per year in patients without cirrhosis.
  • Rates of liver cirrhosis deaths have been consistently higher for Black/African American men and women than their White counterparts since the 1950s.

Last updated on September 11th, 2023 at 04:16 pm

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