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Archive for May 30th, 2009

Suffering from Liver Disease?

Posted by feww on May 30, 2009

Have Liver Disease?

A binge drinker? Substance abuser? Had an infectious disease?

NO? Then it must be the pollution!

Environmental pollution sharply increases the risk of liver disease

Pollutants may be responsible for large jump in the number of cases of liver disease, according to researchers.

A many as 33% of U.S. adults “showed signs of having liver disease not caused by normal triggers such as alcohol abuse and viral hepatitis.” A report said.

“While obesity is the primary driver of the increase, environmental pollution also may play a role, according to Dr. Matthew Cave of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, who is presenting his findings this weekend at the Digestive Disease Week conference in Chicago.”

“Our study shows that some of these cases may be attributable to environmental pollution, even after adjusting for obesity, which is another major risk factor for liver disease,” Cave said.

Cave and colleagues, who “studied the role of chemicals in liver disease in 4,500 people,”  found “chronic low-level exposure to 111 common pollutants,” including mercury, lead, PCBs and pesticides,” which accounted for otherwise “unexplained liver disease in adults,” in their national health and nutrition report conducted in 2003-2004.

More than 60 percent of subjects had abnormal liver enzymes which were associated with the pollutants.

“The association was significant even after adjusting for obesity, diabetes, race, sex and poverty, Cave said.”

“These results indicate that there may be a previously unexpected role for environmental pollution in the rising incidents of liver disease in the U.S. population and, clearly, more work needs to be done,” Cave said.

Nearly 100 forms of liver disease, which include  hepatitis,  cirrhosis of the liver and fatty liver disease, account for about $10 billion in healthcare costs  annually, and make chronic liver disease the 10th leading cause of death in the United states,  the American Liver Foundation said.

The sharp rise of liver disease in the United States is also in step with increases in the rates of obesity, which can impair liver function. The report said.

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