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?

9 thoughts on “Liver disease profiles highlight the role of alcohol

  1. That is a frightening graph. It makes me wonder just how much pressure the alcohol lobby is putting on our health systems. When I see the amount of alcohol advertising out there it truly makes me question my own beliefs about drinking. How brainwashed I was.

    I have no issues with junk food. But legal poison that is a now carcinogen and leads,to other deadly illnesses seems like a problem. I can only hope alcohol is,eventually treated like tobacco.

    1. It is a frightening graph I agree. I wonder the same thing Anne. Here in the UK alcohol is a law and order issue which means the industry has side-stepped the health impact for now. We were all brainwashed by the powerful influence of marketing – it really is a ‘Matrix’ moment when you realise it and I hope it goes the way of tobacco too.

  2. I live in the states, and now I am going to look at our liver deaths!
    I do know, EVERYTHING is marketed with alcohol here!
    Yoga, biking, painting..it goes on and on.

      1. Yes, I’ll interject here and agree with Untipsy :). According to Anheuser Busch, Michelob Ultra is a health drink (sarcasm). I believe the grocery industry is very powerful as well. I’ll check out these articles you’ve referenced. Unfortunate statistics. xx

  3. that’s a terrifying graph, yes. one of the suggestions in the TED talk I linked to on my blog today *shameless plug ;)* is that when we are talking data we need to make it tangible to the reader.

    think the British Liver Trust do this well when they say in one of their reports:

    “In the UK, the death toll from alcohol misuse is the equivalent of a passenger filled jumbo jet crashing every 17 days.”

    nineteen jumbo jets crashed so far in 2014, then? and no national strategy from the Department of Health? hmmmm 🙁

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