Liver disease atlas highlights UK variation

Public Health England (PHE) has revealed a wide variation of premature mortality rates from liver disease across England.

A new atlas shows that premature mortality rates ranged from 3.9 per 100,000 in South Norfolk CCG to 30.1 per 100,000 in Blackpool CCG - highlighting how the rate of people dying early from liver disease in some parts of the country is almost eight times higher than others.

Liver disease is almost entirely preventable, with alcohol consumption, obesity and Hepatitis B and C accounting for up to 90 per cent of cases. Liver disease is responsible for approximately 12 per cent of deaths in men aged 40-49 years and is now the fourth most common cause of ‘years of life lost’ in people aged under 75, after heart disease and lung cancer.

The atlas indicators, of which there are 39, reveal a doubling of hospital admission rates for cirrhosis and regional differences, with there being a 7.4 fold difference in the rate of alcohol-specific hospital admissions across the country, with the majority of the higher rates being clustered in the more deprived areas.

More positively, 10 indicators show improvements including a reduction of premature deaths and fewer alcohol-specific hospital admissions for under 18s.

Julia Verne, head of Clinical Epidemiology at PHE, said: “Chronic liver disease is a silent killer of young adults, creeping up and showing itself when it’s often too late. However, around 90% of liver disease is preventable. We hope local health professionals will make the most of this rich data source to inform how they reduce the burden of liver disease in their areas.”

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