Alcohol-related disease, deaths on the rise in younger Americans

More Americans in their 20’s and ‘30s are suffering from liver disease due to alcoholism and are actually dying from it, says a report in the IndyStar.

The disturbing trend is also increasing far more rapidly for women than men.

In a January 2020 study, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found between 1999 and 2017 the number of alcohol-related deaths per year doubled, rising from 35,914 to 72,558 with about a third of those from liver disease.

A 2018 British Medical Journal study also reported a dramatic increase in U.S. deaths from liver cirrhosis between 1999 and 2016 with ages 25 to 34 seeing the highest increase.

“There is an epidemic of alcoholism and alcohol use disorder that I think is hiding behind the opioid crisis,” Dr. Naga Chalasani, head of hepatology at Indiana University Health, told the IndyStar.

“Alcohol consumption has risen in this country… Everything is sort of going in the wrong direction. There are more people drinking, and the people who drink are drinking more.”

Chalsani says the trend is particularly bad for middle-aged women.

A University of Michigan 2019 study looking at more than 100 million Americans with private insurance found a 50% increase in alcohol-related cirrhosis in women between 2009 and 2015.

It used to be thought that a glass or two a day for women and up to three drinks for men might actually improve health but after a controversial 2018 study in The Lancet suggested that no amount of booze is safe, those numbers are being questioned.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends, according to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.

Confusing matters more, the effects of alcohol consumption are different for every person, depending on how their bodies individually process it.