Big increase in alcohol-related liver disease in last four years

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The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Health & Education Editor

NEW figures have confirmed the enormous increase in alcohol-related liver disease in the region in the last four years.

According to official statistics, the number of potentially fatal cases of liver disease diagnosed in the North-East rose to 2,485 in 2012-13, an increase of 37 per cent since 2008-09.

In Yorkshire and Humberside the number of cases was even larger – 3,853 in 2012-13, an increase of 44 per cent compared with four years ago, making this region the area which has seen the biggest increase in liver disease cases since 2009.

The figures show that the NHS is now dealing with more than 100 extra cases a week, while the number of women binge-drinking has doubled since the 1990s.

Hospitals in the UK treated 33,520 people for alcoholic liver disease last year, compared to 27,619 in 2009, a rise of 21 per cent.

Experts are particularly worried that alcoholic liver disease is increasingly found in the under-30s, in people who binge-drank when they were younger.

Another worry is that increasing numbers of heavy drinkers are are female and women are physically less able to cope with large amounts of alcohol than men.

Andrew Lang, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, wants to see the Government divert more resources into helping detect liver disease early.

Last year a mobile scanning trailer sponsored by the BLT travelled around the UK, calling in on Middlesbrough.

Many of the Teesside shoppers who had their livers tested were advised to cut down on their drinking to avoid long-term damage while a significant minority were advised to make an appointment to see their GP.

Concern about heavy drinking in the region led to the setting up of Balance, the UK’s first alcohol office.

Balance, which is trying to encourage North-East people to moderate their drinking and move away from the heavy drinking culture associated with the region, has challenged drinkers to try to give up booze for the whole of January in the interests of their health.

Balance is pressing the Government to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol in the hope that this will deter binge-drinking on cheap alcohol.

A graphic TV advertisement is currently being screened in the region highlighting that alcohol is in the same cancer-causing category as tobacco smoke and asbestos .

Alcohol is responsible for about 12,500 cases of cancer each year in the UK.

Comments (2)

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5:31pm Fri 3 Jan 14

frankyboy says...

Here 'Balance' goes again with their dubious spin and twaddle.

"Alcohol is responsible for about 12,500 cases of cancer each year in the UK." Which is 0% of the UK adult population. Or, to one decimal point, 0.0% of the UK adult population.

"the number of potentially fatal cases of liver disease diagnosed in the North-East rose to 2,485 in 2012-13". Which is 0% of the North East population. Quite apart from the fact that these are 'potentially' and therefore not certain. And I wonder who defines 'potentially'?

"The figures show that the NHS is now dealing with more than 100 extra cases a week", which is just over 5,000 a year for the NHS. Or 0% of the UK adult population. Or 0.0% to one decimal point.

"Experts are particularly worried that alcoholic liver disease is increasingly found in the under-30s, in people who binge-drank when they were younger."
Consider this (from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF)): "There has been a decline in the prevalence of drinking over the last decade in Great Britain as a whole, with greater change observed in younger adults" and "Excessive consumption among 16- to 24-year-old men increased initially from 1992 to 2000, but has since fallen to a similar proportion to 1988." So surely this means the under-30s problem is a particular group, from a particular time, and is not a general problem today?

"increasing numbers of heavy drinkers are female". Is 'Balance' suggesting these females are young chavs who pre-load on 'cheap supermarket alcohol' before they go out? If so (and I doubt it) do they have any evidence for this? Perhaps they are professional females who increasingly are able to enjoy a drink with their higher disposable incomes?

Which brings us on, of course, to the minimum price of alcohol tax, which is the main reason for this and all similar articles. The impact of alcohol on 0.0% of the population as described above will be attacked with a tax that will be levied on the entire (100%) of the UK adult population! Is that a fair, reasonable or targeted measure? Of course not! It's a tax that will hit the lowest paid, pensioners and the poorest members of society the hardest.

Professional females who drink a bit more from their higher earnings will not be affected in the slightest. And good luck to them!
Here 'Balance' goes again with their dubious spin and twaddle. "Alcohol is responsible for about 12,500 cases of cancer each year in the UK." Which is 0% of the UK adult population. Or, to one decimal point, 0.0% of the UK adult population. "the number of potentially fatal cases of liver disease diagnosed in the North-East rose to 2,485 in 2012-13". Which is 0% of the North East population. Quite apart from the fact that these are 'potentially' and therefore not certain. And I wonder who defines 'potentially'? "The figures show that the NHS is now dealing with more than 100 extra cases a week", which is just over 5,000 a year for the NHS. Or 0% of the UK adult population. Or 0.0% to one decimal point. "Experts are particularly worried that alcoholic liver disease is increasingly found in the under-30s, in people who binge-drank when they were younger." Consider this (from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF)): "There has been a decline in the prevalence of drinking over the last decade in Great Britain as a whole, with greater change observed in younger adults" and "Excessive consumption among 16- to 24-year-old men increased initially from 1992 to 2000, but has since fallen to a similar proportion to 1988." So surely this means the under-30s problem is a particular group, from a particular time, and is not a general problem today? "increasing numbers of heavy drinkers are female". Is 'Balance' suggesting these females are young chavs who pre-load on 'cheap supermarket alcohol' before they go out? If so (and I doubt it) do they have any evidence for this? Perhaps they are professional females who increasingly are able to enjoy a drink with their higher disposable incomes? Which brings us on, of course, to the minimum price of alcohol tax, which is the main reason for this and all similar articles. The impact of alcohol on 0.0% of the population as described above will be attacked with a tax that will be levied on the entire (100%) of the UK adult population! Is that a fair, reasonable or targeted measure? Of course not! It's a tax that will hit the lowest paid, pensioners and the poorest members of society the hardest. Professional females who drink a bit more from their higher earnings will not be affected in the slightest. And good luck to them! frankyboy
  • Score: 0

8:02pm Fri 3 Jan 14

CLEVELANDPC says...

I did not mean to thumb down that one ! I agree with the majority if what is said. The biggest increase across socio economic groups is middle class class working women. Rationalised, with the " I've worked hard, I earned this glass of wine, or social drinks with friends" the problem with alcohol related illness is I believe, it comes under mental health " Cinderella services" - in my many years I have known many professionals who are "functioning alcoholics" . It's not just the realm of the poor and yes I also agree the prices on vat will be going up along side this latest research. Well spotted .
I did not mean to thumb down that one ! I agree with the majority if what is said. The biggest increase across socio economic groups is middle class class working women. Rationalised, with the " I've worked hard, I earned this glass of wine, or social drinks with friends" the problem with alcohol related illness is I believe, it comes under mental health " Cinderella services" - in my many years I have known many professionals who are "functioning alcoholics" . It's not just the realm of the poor and yes I also agree the prices on vat will be going up along side this latest research. Well spotted . CLEVELANDPC
  • Score: 1

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