A few months ago government figures revealed that more middle class, female professionals aged over 60 are turning to alcohol than ever before. Although the number of men seeking treatment is still higher, admissions amongst women have increased by a staggering 65%.
Bearing this is mind, it will come as no surprise that doctors are now calling for tougher alcohol laws in a bid to tackle the liver disease crisis the UK is currently facing. The latest figures which have been released reveal that in the last ten years there has been a 62% increase in the number of cases of liver disease and a 40% increase in cirrhosis.
Senior doctors are urging the government to adopt a stronger approach after warning that aside from Finland, Britain is the only country in Western Europe where liver disease has increased over the past three decades. As if this alone isn’t worrying enough, for the first time ever, doctors are seeing people under the age of 30 die of alcohol liver disease.
Director of the Institute of Hepatology in London, Professor Roger Williams has asserted that this is a problem that needs to be addressed now in order to tackle the consequences of the disease and to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed with the cost of treating advanced stage liver disease.
Professor Jane Dacre who is the President of the Royal College of Physicians echoed these concerns and has urged for minimum unit pricing that makes the strongest alcoholic drinks the most expensive to be introduced.
Although the UK has witnessed vast health improvements in other areas such as heart disease, cancer and strokes, liver disease is standing out as the one glaring exception. More than one million hospital admissions per year are because of alcohol-related disorders and liver disease is now the third most common cause of premature death in the UK.