According to a study that was presented on Friday at ENDO 2023, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, in Chicago, Illinois, Mexican Americans consistently had the highest percentage of metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD), especially in 2018, although the prevalence of the increase was higher among Whites, the study found. MAFLD is the leading cause of liver disease worldwide.
MAFLD, formerly known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is rapidly moving ahead of NAFLD to become the most prevalent reason for liver transplantation. Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and a common form of liver cancer are all linked to it. MAFLD can result in liver cancer and liver failure if left untreated.
“Compared to Blacks and Whites, Hispanics are more likely to be affected by MAFLD. “Overall, the increase in MAFLD is concerning, as this condition can lead to liver failure and cardiovascular diseases and has an important health disparity,” said researcher Theodore C. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science in Los Angeles, Calif. “This racial/ethnic disparity is a public health concern.”
From 1988 to 2018, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data for 32,726 individuals were analyzed. According to Friedman, “Overall, we found that both MAFLD and obesity increased with time, with the increase in MAFLD being greater than the increase in obesity.”
The percentage of Mexican Americans with MAFLD was consistently higher than that of the general population. In comparison to 1988, the prevalence of MAFLD increased by 133% among Whites, 61% among Mexican Americans, and 56% among Blacks in 2018.
Shaheen concluded, “In summary, MAFLD is increasing over time and more efforts are required to control this epidemic.”