Liver disease deaths reach record levels

Deaths from liver disease have reached record levels after rising 25 per cent in a decade.

The increase in heavy drinking and obesity and the high incidence of hepatitis are believed to be behind the rise.

The first report from the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network, which analyses trends in death rates and costs of care, says there were 11,575 deaths in 2009 compared with 9,231 in 2001. The finding follows figures published last December which showed that over seven years there had been a 60 per cent rise in alcoholic liver disease in young people.

The latest report claims that although liver disease has a variety of causes, men are disproportionately affected because they drink more alcohol.

Professor Martin Lombard, national clinical director for liver disease, said: "This report makes for stark reading. We must focus our efforts and tackle this problem sooner rather than later."

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