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The Healthcare Burden Imposed by Liver Disease in Aging Baby Boomers

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Abstract

The Baby Boomer generation is composed of 78 million Americans who are just beginning to reach their retirement years. Most Boomers have at least one chronic health problem, and these significantly increase the expense of providing medical care. Liver disease is the 12th most common cause of death in the United States, representing a relatively small portion of overall healthcare costs compared with cardiovascular disease and malignancy. Nonetheless, hepatitis C and fatty liver disease are more common in the Boomers and may play a more dominant role as they age. As a consequence, primary liver cancer is likely to become more prevalent. As with most chronic illnesses, prevention rather than disease management is likely to have the greatest impact. For those already afflicted by chronic liver disease, recognition and treatment can reduce the incidence of late complications, as was clearly demonstrated with chronic hepatitis B and C. Perhaps obesity is the greatest threat to our future health, and fatty liver disease, although likely preventable, will probably become the disease that fills the waiting rooms of future hepatologists.

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Acknowledgment

Mr. Roberts is affiliated with the HealthTexas Provider Network and Baylor Health Care System, Dallas, TX.

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No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.

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Correspondence to Gary L. Davis.

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Davis, G.L., Roberts, W.L. The Healthcare Burden Imposed by Liver Disease in Aging Baby Boomers. Curr Gastroenterol Rep 12, 1–6 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11894-009-0087-2

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