Alcohol and obesity cause liver disease death rise
Alcohol abuse and obesity are to blame for a big rise in liver disease in the North West, says a report.
The North West Public Health Observatory found that the number of men dying from liver disease had risen by 20% since 2005.
The liver disease death rate in the region is 42% higher than the national average.
Professor of Public Health Mark Bellis said it "paints a very poor picture" of the region's liver health.'Substantial rise'
In deaths resulting from liver disease, the figures show alcohol was the cause of 47% of fatalities in men and 43% in women. Liver disease affected more people living in deprived areas.
A silent killer
- The liver is the body's largest internal organ, providing vital functions including the filter of toxins, such as alcohol, from the blood
- There are many causes of liver disease but most cases are attributed to alcohol, viral hepatitis or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- But because the liver has no pain fibres there are often no signs that damage is happening until disease is far advanced
- Doctors recently unveiled a colour-coded blood test which can reveal the damage caused by excess drinking
According to the findings, there was a 182% rise in hospital admissions due to fatty liver disease as a primary or secondary diagnosis.
The numbers of men dying from liver disease each year rose from 27 per 100,000 population in 2005 to 30.9 per 100,000 population in 2010 and deaths occur at a relatively young age with the peak ages in the 55 to 64 year age group.
The figures for deaths among women have remained fairly constant over the same period.
Professor Bellis from Liverpool John Moores University, who worked on the study, said: "What this really shows us particularly in males is a quite substantial rise in the number of people dying over last five years of liver disease... and being admitted to hospital and this is mainly due to alcohol and obesity and other underlying problems which are getting worse."
The number of liver disease deaths among women has remained the same according to the study since 2005.
The report was conducted in collaboration with the National Treatment Agency North West, North West Cancer Intelligence Service and NHS North West.
Liver disease currently accounts for 2% of all deaths in England.