USA: Alcoholic Liver Disease Rising
A new study reports, Americans are increasingly developing serious liver diseases like cirrhosis and liver cancer due to alcohol use.
This research adds to mounting evidence showing that liver problems due to alcohol are reaching epidemic levels in the U.S. Studies from the past few years have shown that more young people are dying of liver failure, liver disease is becoming a leading cause of death, and that alcohol-related problems are the number one reason for liver transplants in America.
Researchers found that while there has been little change in the rate of people developing alcoholic fatty liver disease, there appears to be an increase in those who are at greater risk of cirrhosis, liver cancer and death.
Experts believe the increase of liver disease specially in youth is due to binge alcohol use.
There have been studies in the last few years that suggest that amongst millennials about 40% will report binge [alcohol use] in the past month.
That means it’s basically become a part of the culture for the American millennial. There’s no historical precedent for that, ” said Elliot Tapper, a liver disease specialist as per NBC News.
This harmful behavior has seen a sharp increase in severe liver disease among young adults.
The study did not include the rise in women affected by liver disease due to alcohol. According to Dr. Sammy Saab, a professor of medicine and surgery and head of outcomes research in hepatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California there is “is an explosion of young women with liver disease”, where “young women are dying in their 30s and 40s.”
Alcoholic liver disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, nearly 250,000 deaths were attributed to the disease in 2010.
Alcohol harm in the USA
Alcohol per capita consumption in the U.S. is 9.8 liters in 2016 indicating a growing trend from 2010. This level is comparatively above the WHO Americas regional average. Binge alcohol use is a growing harmful behavior in the country, specially for men. Over 60% of all males using alcohol and 43.9% young boys between 15 to 19 years engage in heavy episodic alcohol use.
The WHO reports alcohol attributable factions for liver cirrhosis death is 74.1% in men and 59.% in women in 2016. More than 34,000 cases of liver cirrhosis are attributable to alcohol, per year.
Furthermore 13.9% Americans suffer from some alcohol use disorder and 7.7% are dependent on the substance. Both of these statistics are high above WHO average for the Americas region.
More than 30,000 cases of cancer are attributable to alcohol.
This evidence and data suggests, the United States needs to strengthen and update their alcohol control policy andaction plans and the enforcement of laws, specially on underage alcohol use.