According to brand-new research just published in the Journal of American Medicine, alcohol-associated liver disease is for the #1 cause of liver transplants in America. This is the first time that ALD has surpassed Hepatitis C.

ALD includes such conditions as:

  • Fatty liver
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Hepatitis with liver fibrosis
  • Cirrhosis

Part of the reason for the shift is the advent of more effective drug therapies to treat Hepatitis C.  But another reason is the spike in heavy and binge drinking, leading to a corresponding increase in the number of ALD-related liver transplants.

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco looked at 15 years’ worth of data, involving close to 33,000 liver transplants between 2002 and 2016.  In 2002, from there were only 433 ALD transplants, but by 2016, that number almost tripled, to 1253.

Perhaps related, liver cancer deaths have spiked by 43% within the past 16 years.

Alcoholic Liver Disease: The Statistics

  • Up to 20% of chronic heavy drinkers will develop cirrhosis, and 35% will suffer alcoholic hepatitis.
  • 4 drinks per day for men or 2 drinks per day for women increases the risk of hepatitis by 7% and the risk of fibrosis (or scarring on the liver which is not reversible) by 47%.
  • Drinking without food triples the risk of ALD.
  • Women are twice as susceptible to ALD as men.
  • Right now, there are an estimated 17,000 Americans on the waiting list for a liver transplant.
  • Post-transplant, patients with ALD have a five-year survival rate that is 11% lower than that of other patients.

What This Means for San Diego Residents

This research is extremely relevant, because San Diego was recently named the “booziest city in America”. Local residents spend more money on alcohol than any other city in the United States. Not coincidentally, liver disease is the ninth-leading cause of death in San Diego County.

The best way to protect your health is to stop drinking. But if you can’t do that on your own, then maybe you need professional help.  And if you live in Southern California, your best local resource to get that help is Lasting Recovery, a premier outpatient alcohol rehab program in San Diego.

To take your first steps towards regaining your sobriety, contact Lasting Recovery TODAY.