Premature deaths from alcoholic liver disease rising as gap between men and women narrows

August 27, 2020

Ann Arbor, August 27, 2020 -- A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published by Elsevier, identifies emerging patterns in the rate of and age at premature death from alcoholic (alcohol-associated) liver disease (ALD) in the United States over the last two decades. Significantly, the study documents that since the early 2000s, ALD death rates among non-Hispanic whites, particularly women, have increased more rapidly than rates among non-Hispanic blacks. Findings indicate that mortality is significantly impacted by socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors, the clinical course of ALD, and co-existing conditions.

"Empirical evidence from our study adds to the growing literature suggesting that previously large gaps between women and men in alcohol-related harms, including mortality, are narrowing," explained co-investigator Aaron M. White, PhD, Senior Scientific Advisor to the Director, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA. "Of particular concern is the largest increase that occurred among younger women ages 25--34. Because it usually takes 10 or more years of drinking to develop liver disease, premature mortality before 35 years of age is quite unusual and cause for serious public health concerns."

Investigators drew death certificate data from the 1999--2018 Multiple Cause of Death database compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics. Each death certificate contains a single underlying cause of death, up to 20 additional contributing causes, and sociodemographic data. From 1999 to 2018, 281,243 individuals ages 25--69 died prematurely of ALD. Researchers looked at other factors reported as contributing to the cause of death: demographic characteristics (e.g., sex, race/Hispanic origin, marital status, education); the type of ALD (e.g., alcoholic fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis; alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver); and comortalities (e.g., alcohol use disorder, tobacco use disorder, hepatitis C infection, diabetes, hypertension, injuries).

Highlights of the study's findings include:The authors conclude that the study supports population-level interventions and policies to reduce alcohol consumption and improve access to, and quality of, ALD treatment. Their findings may serve to raise public awareness of the rising levels of death from ALD and the groups at greatest risk, encouraging both physicians and patients to engage more frequently in discussions about alcohol consumption. To address narrowing sex gaps in premature death from ALD, greater emphasis should be placed on implementation of abstinence programs, early detection of ALD, and education about hazardous drinking levels for women.

Dr. White cautioned: "Because alcohol consumption tends to increase during periods of economic uncertainty, ALD mortality could spike as the current economic crisis persists. In addition, disruption of quality care delivery could increase rates of mortality in patients with end-stage ALD while disruption of alcohol use disorder treatment and recovery programs could lead to relapses and exacerbation of ALD."


Related Alcohol Consumption Articles from Brightsurf:

Excessive alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic
The full impact of COVID-19 on alcohol use is not yet known, but rates have been rising during the first few months of the pandemic.

Alcohol consumption rises sharply during pandemic shutdown
Anecdotal information has suggested that people are buying and consuming more alcohol during the pandemic shutdown.

Associations of alcohol consumption, alcohol-induced passing out with risk of dementia
The risk of future dementia associated with overall alcohol consumption and alcohol-induced loss of consciousness in a population of current drinkers was examined in this observational study with more than 131,000 adults.

Sweet coolers a gateway to increased alcohol consumption
Sweetened alcoholic beverages can promote harmful alcohol consumption among teens, new University of Guelph research finds.

The influence of alcohol consumption among cohabitating partners
Research has linked a partner's or spouse's drinking with changes in alcohol-related behaviors, but few studies have considered only cohabiting relationships.

Does alcohol consumption have an effect on arthritis?
Several previous studies have demonstrated that moderate alcohol consumption is linked with less severe disease and better quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, but a new Arthritis Care & Research study suggests that this might not be because drinking alcohol is beneficial.

Is alcohol consumption more helpful than harmful? It depends on your age
Studies of health effects of alcohol consumption may underestimate the risks of imbibing, particularly for younger people, according to a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer ignored by women most at risk
Middle aged women in Australia aren't getting the message about the proven link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer, at a time when more are drinking while cancer rates in their age bracket are increasing, according to a new study.

How much is too much? Even moderate alcohol consumption is a risk factor for atrial fibrillation
Excessive alcohol consumption is an established risk factor for atrial fibrillation (AF), but what are the effects of moderate and mild consumption on AF?

Moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with fewer hospitalizations
A study of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of I.R.C.C.S.

Read More: Alcohol Consumption News and Alcohol Consumption Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to