Daily Archives: 21/11/2014

Liver disease profiles highlight the role of alcohol

New liver disease profiles released by Public Health England and covered in a report by Alcohol Policy UK highlights that liver deaths in England increased 40% between 2001 and 2012.

A picture paints a 1000 words as the old adage goes:

liver disease mortality

Alcohol specifically accounts for 37% of all liver disease deaths, although over 90% are due to one of the three main risk factors: alcohol, viral hepatitis and obesity. One in ten people who die in their forties die of liver disease, whilst 90% of people who die from liver disease are under 70 years old.  See reports in the Telegraph, Guardian, and BBC for more about alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD)

In 2009 the Department of Health said it would deliver a National Liver Strategy to combat the rise of liver disease. By 2012, more reports indicated it was soon coming, but never appeared.

Why is that?  It is clear from the above graph that this is a health priority in terms of morbidity and mortality.  Plus campaigns have been launched for all of the other areas highlighted and they are all dropping which suggests that it is a successful strategy.  Even if it was launched looking at reducing deaths from obesity as the leading issue  it leaves me scratching my head as to why this hasn’t happened yet.   Obesity is recognised as a major public health issue in it’s own right and as I said in a previous post I wonder how much of the obesity epidemic is created by alcohol consumption not just food over-consumption?

Why is the Department of Health looking the other way on this issue?  Is it because real longer term outcomes would also depend on action on price, availability and marketing of alcohol and junk food and that is where the conflict of interest lies with our govt?  It would involve reigning in the vested interests of corporations that fund the govt through lobbying and donations and impact on their profitability.  Are the financial interests of the corporations being put before the best interests of the health of our nation?  I have to conclude that the answer is yes.  What do you think?