Alcohol linked to 40% rise in liver disease deaths

Alcohol linked to 40% rise in liver disease deaths

Liver disease is the only major cause of mortality and morbidity which is on the increase in England whilst it is decreasing in the rest of Europe and the study uncovered a stark north-south divide, with more than four times as many male adults dying from the disease in Blackpool (58.4 per 100,000) than central Bedfordshire (13 per 100,000).

Some populations are more affected by liver disease than others. For example, the male mortality rate is 4 times higher in some local authorities compared to others. Similarly, there are large variations in hospital admissions from liver disease. Over 90% of liver disease is due to three main preventable and treatable risk factors: alcohol, hepatitis B and C, and obesity.

Liver disease is one of the leading causes of premature mortality in England with 1 in 10 people who die in their 40s dying of liver disease. In addition, the research shows that in some areas, the numbers of years of life lost in people aged under 75 from liver disease is almost three times the number of years of life lost from both breast cancer and from stroke.

Professor Verne said: "Liver disease is a public health priority because young lives are being needlessly lost. All the preventable causes are on the rise, but alcohol accounts for 37% of liver disease deaths. We must do more to raise awareness, nationally and locally, and this is why it is so important for the public and health professionals to understand their local picture."

Andrew Langford, Chief Executive of The British Liver Trust, said: "The British Liver Trust is delighted with the level of detail provided within these profiles: they provide invaluable evidence as to how local authorities, CCGs, public health professionals and the NHS can improve upon and increase prevention, early diagnosis and more timely care and treatment.

"These profiles, which were urgently needed, will begin to address the devastating rise of poor liver health throughout the country and reduce unnecessary deaths of increasingly younger people from liver disease."

By Mark Gould,

On medica,Monday 20 October 2014

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