Liver disease deaths are becoming more common in the US and disproportionately affecting younger Americans, according to a recent study.
The publication The BMJ just one day after a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports rising death rates from liver cancer, paints a disturbing picture of how Americans' drinking habits could affect their health. While the new study failed to demonstrate causation, researchers believe that drinking is likely to be responsible for the growing number of adults aged 24 to 35 who die from liver cirrhosis or liver scarring.
The researchers used deaths in CDC's WONDER database between 1
Although almost every population increase recorded an increase in cirrhosis beginning in 2009, after a period from 1999 to 2008 The trends were particularly pronounced for certain demographic characteristics.
For example, younger Americans saw the largest increase in their cirrhotic mortality rate (10.5%), although older age groups are still seeing more deaths overall. Cirrhosis now accounts for approximately 1.4% of deaths in the 24- to 35-year-olds, mainly due to the drinking habits of the population.
A separate study published this week found that younger adults are at a particularly high risk of starting and maintaining problematic drinking habits. And The authors of the BMJ study find that the cirrhosis mortality trend in 2009 – immediately after the 2008 financial crisis – is in line with research that finds young men particularly susceptible to alcohol abuse after unemployment or financial burdens  Native Americans, White Americans, and Hispanic Americans have also seen a significant increase in liver disease death rates since 1999, the article says. Geographically, cirrhosis is particularly prevalent in Kentucky, New Mexico, Arkansas, Indiana and Alabama.
Liver cancer is now on the decline among younger Americans, and is increasing in the elderly, according to the study – a finding consistent with the recent CDC report. Liver cancer deaths were most common among Asians and Pacific Islanders, but this group was also the only one who saw a slight decrease in their death rate during the study period.
The two recent reports add to a growing body of evidence that Americans "Drinking habits have become increasingly problematic in recent years, for example, a March CDC report found that 17% of the US population drinks Alcohol abuse along with drugs and suicide responsible for a recent decline in the US Life expectancy
"Increasing mortality from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma suggests the growing socio-economic impact of liver disease " BMJ authors write." Unfavorable trends in liver-related mortality are particularly regrettable, as in most cases liver disease is preventable. "