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Liver disease deaths in young soar by 200pc

DEATHS among young people from alcohol-induced liver disease have jumped by 188pc in a 14-year period.

Heavy drinking has also been blamed for an alarming 275pc increase in liver disease among 15-34-year-olds.

New research shows deaths in hospital from alcoholic liver disease (ALD) have increased by 2.6 per 100,000 to 7.5 per 100,000 in the 14 years.

The study was carried out by Dr Aiden McCormick, consultant hepatologist/gastroenterologist at St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, and Dr Deirdre Mongan, research officer at the Health Research Board

Dr McCormick has called for "some sort of levy on alcohol advertisements or off-licence sales to fund research for better treatment".


He says a situation has developed where there is a "massive industry based around alcohol yet none of the money is being put into harm reduction".

"We've seen a massive increase in alcoholic liver disease which reflects what is happening in society and the changing patterns of drinking.

"The death levels among the younger age group is fairly low, but has dramatically increased.

"We can also expect that mortality rates will increase in the older age groups as the cohort who were drinking heavily when younger get older," he adds.

The findings, which were being presented to the Irish Society of Gastroenterology winter conference in Dublin today, showed that 27,816 people were diagnosed in hospital with alcoholic liver disease between 1995 and 2009.

There were considerable increases in the disease rates across all age groups.

•15-34 years, up 275pc

•35-49 years, up 227pc

•50-64 years, up 159pc

•Over 65 years, up 145pc.

"There is now a higher mortality rate amongst those with ALD than with heart attacks, but there are very little resources to deal with it," says Dr McCormick.

"It's a very serious public health problem... but the hospital-based care aspect isn't being looked at.

"There should be a systemised and centralised care which is how care for various cancers has improved.

"Treatment of Hepatitis C has dramatically improved because resources have been put into it, yet the treatment of ALD hasn't changed at all," he stresses.