Study Suggests More Young Americans Are Dying From Excessive Alcohol Use
A new study has revealed that more Americans, particularly young people, are dying from liver disease, and cirrhosis as a result of alcohol consumption.
The study analysed the amount of people dying from cirrhosis - a disease that causes scarring on the liver, usually from excess alcohol use - and found that between 1999 and 2016, the USA saw a 65 percent increase in deaths.
The research also found that an alarming number of the people dying between those years were young people. The highest climb in mortality numbers of any group was those aged between 25 and 34 years old.
This study took in more than 600,000 death certificates over a period of 17 years, so it's very thorough.
Deaths from liver cancer - another frequent by-product of alcoholism - doubled. Though liver cancer can be caused by several other factors, the researchers said that alcoholism was the main cause.
They also found that men are twice as likely to die from cirrhosis, and four times more likely to die from liver cancer. Amongst the ethnicities, Hispanic and Native Americans saw the highest levels of mortality from cirrhosis.
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The paper's first author, Dr. Elliot Tapper, from the University of Michigan, said that binge-drinking in young people was at least partially responsible for the spike in deaths. He suggested that alcohol prices are raised in America, as well as improving the number of diagnoses of cirrhosis from existing blood tests.
He said: "We were struck by how the current concept of who develops cirrhosis didn't quite match what we were seeing,
"It was really striking to us to have people that were younger than us in our clinic dying from cirrhosis."
The reasons for this increase are not exactly clear. It has been suggested before that an increase in drinking habits of people suffering from financial difficulties as a result of the 2008 banking crash could have played a part.
Studies have shown that adults under financial stress tend to drink more, and unemployment is linked to drinking problems, particularly in young men.
However, a decade on from the financial collapse, 70% of Americans still drink, and 40% of those drink to excess, according to research.
Another possible factor is that a lot of people simply don't realise the damage that drink does to their body. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines heavy drinking as more than 8 drinks per week for women and more than 15 per week for men.
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