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June 14, 2019

The rate of chronic liver disease in Queensland is rising, with experts warning the state has only dealt with the “tip of the iceberg” if more is not done to combat the debilitating condition.

Researchers from QIMR Berghofer medical research institute looked at every patient admitted to hospital in Queensland with chronic liver disease over a nine year period from 2008 to 2016.

Over that time, there was a 62 per cent increase in the number of patients being treated for the chronic liver condition cirrhosis at Queensland hospitals, from 2701 admissions in 2008 to 4367 in 2016.

“Also patients in the early stages of cirrhosis don’t have any symptoms, so they may not even know they have it.”

The lead researcher, Princess Alexandra Hospital hepatologist Elizabeth Powell, said the study found excessive alcohol consumption accounted for 55 per cent of all the cases of cirrhosis.

“Just as we’re seeing an epidemic of obesity and type-2 diabetes, fatty liver is the liver complication of the metabolic syndrome, so it’s something the needs to be recognised and looked for,” she said.

The overall deaths from cirrhosis-related admissions to hospitals was 9.7 per cent for men and 9.3 per cent for women.

The study results have been published in the journal EClinical Medicine.

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