Cirrhosis can be caused by a virus like hepatitis C or fatty liver disease, and as liver specialists have made strides in fighting hepatitis C, "We thought we would see improvements, but these data make it clear: even after hepatitis C, we will still have our work cut out for us", said liver specialist Dr. Elliot B. Tapper.
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More Americans, especially young people, are dying of conditions related to liver cirrhosis, according to a new study. In many cases, liver disease can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle.
After adjusting for age and other factors, the study - published Wednesday in the BMJ - found that deaths in the United States due to cirrhosis rose 65% and deaths from liver cancer doubled from 1999 to 2016.
He said the increased deaths may stem from several factors, including complications of the hepatitis C epidemic, as well as the high frequency of fatty liver disease in the USA population.
The NCHS report doesn't explain why the U.S.is seeing such pronounced increases in liver cancer deaths.
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Between 1999 and 2016, deaths from cirrhosis increased by 65 percent (from about 20,600 in 1999 to almost 34,200 in 2016).
Asian and Pacific Islander adults - who had the highest liver cancer death rate in 2000 - were the only racial or ethnic group to experience a rate decrease during the study time period, dropping from 17.5 to 13.6 per 100,000 people.
Between 2000 and 2016, liver cancer death rates increased by 43% for men and 40% for women, according to the NCHS.
Between 2009 and 2016, cirrhosis caused 460,760 deaths.
A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released earlier this week echoed these findings.