Liver disease deaths skyrocket among young adults: study

https://nypost.com/2018/07/18/liver-disease-deaths-skyrocket-among-young-adults-report/

 

Deaths from liver disease are spiking at an “alarming” rate in the United States as too many young binge drinkers put their health on the rocks, researchers said Wednesday.

From 1999 to 2016, US deaths from cirrhosis increased by 65 percent while deaths from hepatocellular carcinoma doubled, according to findings published in the British Medical Journal.

The most shocking spike, researchers said, was the 10.5-percent rise in cirrhosis deaths among people 25 to 34. It usually takes years for live disease to kill someone, so any fatal rise among younger patients is seen as a red flag.

“It’s alarming,” said study co-author Dr. Elliot Tapper, a liver specialist and University of Michigan professor. “But the fact is, we are dealing with this kind of condition in our hospital and clinic every day. A lot of younger men are showing up very sick. It’s always shocking to meet someone in their 20s or 30s who has liver failure.”

The spike in liver-disease deaths hit whites, Native Americans and Hispanics – though Asian Americans actually bucked this trend, researchers said.

It’s not too late for hard-drinking Americans, if they can just throw back their cocktails at a slightly lower rate.

Tapper said “there’s an excellent chance your liver will repair itself” in the wake of decreased alcohol consumption.

“Many other organs have the ability to regenerate to some degree, but none have the same capacity as the liver,” he told the Washington Post, adding that he’s seen “from the sickest of the sick to living well, working and enjoying their life.”

The ultimate problem, Tapper said: “We do not yet have a highly effective treatment for alcohol addiction.”

With Post Wire Services

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