HealthDay News — Liver disease-related deaths, particularly due to cirrhosis, have been increasing in the United States since 2009, according to a study published online July 18 in The BMJ.

Elliot B Tapper, MD, and Neehar D Parikh, MD, both from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, analyzed death certificate data from the Vital Statistics Cooperative and population data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (1999 to 2016) to assess trends in liver disease-related mortality.

The researchers found that from 1999 to 2016 annual US deaths from cirrhosis increased by 65%, while annual deaths from hepatocellular carcinoma doubled. Only the Asian and Pacific Islanders subgroup experienced an improvement in the annual death rate from hepatocellular carcinoma per year. Increases in cirrhosis-related mortality were most marked for Native Americans. Younger people (aged 25 to 34 years) experienced the highest average annual increase in cirrhosis-related mortality, driven entirely by alcohol-related liver disease. States in the south and west showed disproportionate annual increases in mortality due to cirrhosis.

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“The rapid increase in death rates among young people due to alcohol highlight new challenges for optimal care of patients with preventable liver disease,” the authors write.

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