Importance of liver diseases in the world

13 January, 2019

A serious health problem

It is estimated that liver diseases cause 2 million deaths annually in the world as published in January 2019 in the Journal of Hepatology .

In developed countries, the most frequent cause of liver cirrhosis is fatty liver and in our experience, it is also. Fatty liver is frequently associated with obesity and this constitutes a serious problem since it is estimated that in the last 40 years the prevalence of obesity in the general population has multiplied by 6 and continues to increase.

Other risk factors

Another important and frequent cause of liver disease is due to alcohol intake. It is known that around 2,000 million people in the world consume alcohol and 75 million suffer from an alcoholic liver disease.

In relation to the hepatitis B virus, it is estimated that around 275 million people are infected with this virus (35% of the world population) and, approximately, this infection leads to 56,000 deaths per year. It must be remembered that there is an effective vaccine against hepatitis B and that in Spain its administration is widespread since it has been included in the childhood vaccination calendar for many years. Regarding hepatitis C virus, there are about 71 million people infected. However, thanks to new antiviral treatments against this virus, it is estimated that by the year 2030 the number of people affected will have decreased substantially.

Evolution of liver diseases in the world

Autoimmune hepatitis is another cause of aggressive liver disease and although it is considered a rare disease, its frequency is increasing (from 1.34 cases / 100,000 inhabitants in 1994 to 2.33 cases in 2012).

In our clinic, we increasingly treat more patients with autoimmune hepatitis (it is a difficult disease to diagnose).

There are other causes of liver disease: hepatitis A, hepatitis E, delta, primary sclerosing cholangitis, primary biliary cholangitis, Wilson’s disease, hepatotoxicity, etc., but some are rare and others (hepatitis A and E) are occasionally aggressive.

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