Rise in liver disease deaths should be wake-up call says Swanswell

22 March 2012

New figures highlighting alcohol as a major cause of a 25 per cent increase in deaths from liver disease in less than a decade, should be a major wake-up call says Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to a new report from the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network.

It warns that victims of liver disease are getting younger with increasing numbers of deaths among people in their forties. The report said deaths rose from 9,231 in 2001 to 11,575 in 2009 – around 60% of which were men and 90% of them were under 70 (reported in the Guardian).

Obesity and hepatitis are some of the other major causes thought to be behind the increase according to the report.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Today’s report should act as a strong message for people to reconsider how much they’re drinking and how often.

‘Many don’t realise that even having a large glass of wine or pint of strong lager every night could be as damaging over time as binge drinking, and lead to lasting health problems.

However it’s not surprising – in December we heard of a 60% rise in cases of alcoholic liver disease in young people over seven years3.

Although there’s set to be a minimum price for alcohol making it more expensive, that alone won’t reduce the number of alcohol-related illnesses and deaths which could be preventable.

Society needs to accept that everyone has a part to play in tackling alcohol misuse and no individual government or organisation can do it on its own.              

People need clear information about the harms associated with alcohol, so they can make informed decisions about their own alcohol use.’

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