Adapted from Abeysekera KWM et al. Prevalence of steatosis and fibrosis in young adults in the UK: a population based study. Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2020 Jan 15.
A new study highlights just how common liver disease is becoming in young adults in the UK. One in five had fatty liver, known as steatosis. One in 40 had fibrosis, also known as cirrhosis. And the average age was only 24. These results show how harmful unhealthy eating and drinking habits can be.
Subjects for the study were recruited through the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Transient elastography and controlled attenuation parameter scores were used for assessment of steatosis and fibrosis.
Steatosis was found in 20.7% of the participants and this was severe in 10% of those affected. Being overweight or obese was the main factor for causing this after adjusting for alcohol intake, social class and smoking.
Fibrosis was reported in 2.7% of the participants. This risk was significantly higher in those who also had an alcohol problem or addiction and already had steatosis after adjusting for smoking and social class.
The authors conclude that the obesity epidemic is affecting the current and future health of young adults by increasing their risk of non alcoholic steatohepatitis related cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and complications of metabolic syndrome.