Health Disparities in Liver Disease among Minorities
22 March 2018 (online)
Background Liver disease is a major a public health concern, and at 10,000 deaths per year, it is now the 12th leading cause of mortality in the United States. Unfortunately, health disparities are a barrier to healthcare among minority, racial, and ethnic groups, as well as underserved populations; these disparities predominantly affect the prevalence of liver disease and morbidity rates in American-Indian and Hispanic populations.
Content Organization Minority populations are expected to grow and will comprise more than half the nation’s population by the mid-21st century. With this growth, the incidence of chronic liver disease will climb to well over 20 million. Those minority groups affected by social determinants of health are subject to an increased incidence of liver disease from alcoholism, heroin abuse, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Learning Points Research suggests that socioeconomic factors, education level, and access to healthcare all have a direct effect on early diagnosis and treatment. Public health nurses need to work in a partnership with healthcare providers and the community to educate and eliminate health disparities with the goal of reducing chronic liver disease among these groups through health promotion and prevention efforts.