21 September 2012
The outstanding research from LJMU’s Centre for Public Health has once again been recognised by the national media.
The report ‘Burden of Liver Disease and Inequalities in the North West of England’ published by the Centre and the Health Protection Agency North West in collaboration with the National Treatment Agency North West, North West Cancer Intelligence Service and NHS North West, presents data on liver disease and has received coverage on BBC and ITV, among others.
Liver disease currently accounts for 2% of all deaths in England, and its main causes are alcohol, hepatitis B and C, and fatty liver disease by age, gender, deprivation and geography.
The key findings from the report are that:
- Numbers of men dying from liver disease each year in the North West are up 20% since 2005 (27 per 100,000 population in 2005 to 30.9 per 100,000 population in 2010), and deaths occur at a relatively young age (peak ages are 55 to 64 years). Numbers of deaths among women have remained fairly constant over time.
- Deaths from liver disease are 42% higher in the North West compared to England (23.5 per 100,000 in North West, 16.6 per 100,000 in England, in 2010) and there are substantial variations within the region (42.7 per 100,000 population in Blackpool and 8.2 per 100,000 population in Eden in 2006 to 2010).
- Hospital admissions for liver disease as the primary diagnosis increased 30% between 2005/6 and 2010/11 (from 6,413 to 8,334).
- Alcohol-related liver disease1 accounts for 47% of liver disease deaths in men and 43% in women and affects more people living in deprived areas.
- Hospital admissions due to fatty liver disease2 as a primary or secondary diagnosis have increased 182% (from 913 in 2005/6 to 2,578 in 2010/11).
- Hepatocellular cancer3 accounts for 15% of male and 5% of female deaths from liver disease and chances of survival at five years for patients diagnosed with hepatocellular cancer are worse in the North West than in other areas of England (8.3% in the North West, 12.3% for England).
- Laboratory reports of hepatitis C4 have increased 123% in the North West over the last decade (from 898 in 2000 to 2000 in 2010) and hospital admissions for hepatitis C as a primary or secondary diagnosis increased 65% since 2005 (from 2,929 in 2005 to 4,841 in 2010). 65% of injecting drug users tested positive for the hepatitis C virus in 2010.
Professor Martin Lombard, National Clinical Director for Liver Disease, commented: “Liver disease is emerging as one of the major health problems for our population. People can be at risk of developing liver disease from an early age and may not even know they have a liver problem until the disease is at an advanced stage. The main causes are alcohol, obesity and hepatitis viruses and there is a lot people can do to avoid liver disease or prevent its progression by looking after themselves, paying particular attention to their diet and reducing their habitual alcohol consumption. This report highlights the fact that in the North West liver disease has reached a very significant level, getting to the stage where most residents will know someone, or know someone who knows someone else, who has died of liver disease or has a health issue from liver disease. The report is a call to action to everyone interested in health and well being, to tackle this issue."
Professor Mark Bellis, Director of the Centre for Public Health, commented: “The increasing levels of obesity and alcohol consumption we have seen over recent decades have resulted in rising levels of liver disease across the North West, while much of Europe has seen levels fall. Liver disease is the tip of a growing iceberg of ill health resulting from poor diet and excessive drinking and a stark reminder that so far we have failed to tackle either.”
To see some of the coverage generated by the report, go to: