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Study: more people have liver cirrhosis than previously thought


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(NaturalNews) Researchers from the Loyola University Health System have discovered that liver cirrhosis, which can lead to liver cancer and liver failure, is more common than previously thought. After examining information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), they found that more than 633,000 adults are affected with the disease and that -- to their surprise -- 69 percent of the adults in this first-ever general population study about the prevalence of the disease likely weren't even aware they had liver cirrhosis. The information that was studied involved a representative sample of United States adults.(1)

In the past, estimates suggested that the number of adults with cirrhosis was approximately 400,000.(2)

Dr. Scaglione, first author of the study and an assistant professor in the departments of Medicine and Public Health Sciences of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, says the findings demonstrate the need for increased attention on the subject. He expresses concern, particularly involving the large percentage of those who may not even know they are affected. Of those individuals, he says "...this raises the possibility of a large number of undiagnosed cases of cirrhosis."(1)

Details of the study, plus findings about cirrhosis as it relates to education, age

The study, titled, "The Epidemiology of Cirrhosis in the United States: A Population-based Study," was published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. It states the following concerning the reason behind the study:

The aims of this study were to estimate the prevalence of cirrhosis in the general US population, determine characteristics of affected Americans with a focus on health disparities, and calculate excess mortality attributable to cirrhosis.(3)

Ultimately, the article concluded:

The prevalence of cirrhosis is higher than previously estimated. Many cases may be undiagnosed, and more than half are potentially preventable by controlling diabetes, alcohol abuse, and viral hepatitis. Public health efforts are needed to reduce this disease burden, particularly among racial/ethnic minorities and individuals at lower socioeconomic status.(3)

In addition to these findings, their research also led to other discoveries.

For example, during a two-year interval, it was found that those with cirrhosis had a mortality rate of 26.4 percent, significantly higher than the 8.4 percent mortality rate in adults who did not have cirrhosis during that same two-year timeframe.(1)

Furthermore, the study also found that those with the disease were more likely to be older and that more men than women were at risk for developing cirrhosis.(1)

Education levels were also linked to prevalence of the disease. The higher the level of education, the more likely a decline in cirrhosis existed compared to poorer individuals.(1)

Finally, it was found that a quarter of people with cirrhosis reported drinking large quantities of alcohol the year before, half of which also tested positive for the hepatitis C virus.(1)

In fact, alcohol abuse was one of three common factors in over 50 percent of the cirrhosis cases, something which Dr. Scaglione says has the potential to be prevented. Diabetes and hepatitis C were the other two contributing factors.(1)

Recognizing the symptoms and changing eating habits beneficial to health

According to the Mayo Clinic, fatigue, appetite loss, leg swelling, jaundice, and bruising easily are some of the many symptoms that one with cirrhosis may experience. Those with the disease can face a range of health complications including a buildup of toxins in the brain that can lead to coma, gallstones, abdominal swelling and liver cancer. The clinic states that when it comes to liver cirrhosis, if caught early enough can be treated, but that "the liver damage done by cirrhosis can't be undone."(4,5,6)

To help prevent cirrhosis, it may be worth exploring dietary changes.

Foods that contribute to a healthy-functioning liver include cruciferous items such as cauliflower and broccoli, sea vegetables, sprouted seeds, nuts, beans and grains, and garlic. OF course increased consumption of water and less alcohol is also advised -- sound advice for overall health, not just for the liver.(7)

Sources:

(1) http://www.sciencedaily.com

(2) http://www.newswise.com

(3) http://journals.lww.com

(4) http://www.mayoclinic.org

(5) http://www.mayoclinic.org

(6) http://www.mayoclinic.org

(7) http://www.rodalenews.com

About the author:
A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well. >>> Click here to see more by Antonia

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