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Liver disease affecting more young people

An increasing number of young people living in the UK were admitted to hospital due to alcohol-related liver disease last year, new research from north-east office Balance has revealed.

According to the study's findings, more individuals aged under 30 are being treated for the health issue, which usually affects people who are considerably older, than ever before due to irresponsible intake of beer, wine and spirits.

Worryingly, analysts noted that alcohol-related liver disease increased by 400 per cent in the north-east alone during the 12-month period when compared with the same results from 2002/03.

The total sum for admissions across the UK represented a 117 per cent increase over the last ten years, suggesting many young adults are unaware of recommended drinking guidelines - or simply do not follow them.

This increasing trend was particularly clear in the north-east, where the number of people aged under 30 who have received hospital treatment in the last ten years rose sharply by 400 per cent.

Across the UK, some 115 young individuals were taken in for care by doctors and nurses due to excessive alcohol consumption that resulted in liver disease last year, compared with just 23 in 2002/03.

Analysts noted the trend has increased dramatically across both genders and for all age ranges, while those in the north-east have seen a more notable increase than the national average.

In England, the number of admissions rose from 25,706 in 2002/03 to 49,456 in 2011/12 - representing an increase of 92 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Steven Masson - consultant hepatologist at the Freeman Hospital's Liver Transplant Unit - said it is "extremely worrying" that there has been a rising number of young people who are diagnosed with alcohol-related liver disease.

Terrifying implications

The expert noted that although the figures may seem low compared to other illnesses in the UK, the findings have "terrifying" implications - particularly when this condition was so rare among young people just ten years ago.

Dr Masson explained: "A lot of people think that this sort of thing won't happen to them. It does and sadly it's something we are seeing more and more.

"Unless we do something soon, liver specialists across the region are going to be dealing with more and more young people whose lives have been ruined by alcoholism."

For this reason, the medical professional urged young individuals to ensure they do not exceed the recommended drinking guidelines to ensure their health is not affected by their drinking habits.

Women are advised not to consume more than two small glasses of wine - around 2-3 units per day - while men should not drink more than two pints of low-strength beer at three per cent in 24 hours.

The shocking findings of the study have resulted in some campaigners urging the government to take action to warn young people of the dangers of excessive consumption of beer, wines and spirits.

Colin Shevills - director of Balance, the north-east alcohol office - said many individuals are drinking too much from an early age due to the increasing affordability of the beverages and lucrative advertising campaigns for certain products.

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