Alcoholic liver disease on the increase in young women

Alcoholic liver disease on the increase in young women

Sadly, this trend is not going away, it is actually getting worse all over the world – much worse.

“We are used to alcoholic liver disease in middle-aged men but scarily we are seeing a significant number of women in their 20s and 30s in this situation.  These are young professional women aged 25 to 35 who are functioning in other areas of their lives but are drinking at consistently risky levels and think it’s not doing them any harm”
Associate Professor Simone Strasser, a liver specialist and spokeswoman for the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, February 2014.

Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveal that:

  • The number of hospital admissions from alcoholic liver disease almost doubled from 2,976 to nearly 6,000 in the 15 years to 2009
  • Young, professional women are significantly contributing to the rising hospitalisation rates for people aged 20 to 29 with alcoholic cirrhosis
  • This is a staggering increase and a sign that drinking is not only causing social problems and carnage but also early death for an entire generation of young women
  • A 2011 study by Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute found a TENFOLD increase in the risk of hospital admissions for cases of alcoholic cirrhosis in those aged 20 to 29 over the five years to 2003

“It’s an urban disease and a disease of affluence.  Young people have more money and are less encumbered than they were 30 years ago.  Women were particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of alcohol because they generally weighed less and had fewer active enzymes to break down alcohol compared with men.  The increase in early and late stage alcoholic liver disease was evidence young people were extending their adolescent lifestyles well into their 20s”
Professor Paul Haber, a professor of addiction medicine at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, February 2014.

As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald on February 11, 2014.

Posted: Sunday 16 March 2014