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Liver Disease Rising in Young Adults

Health

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Cirrhosis of the liver is killing more young people than ever before.

Austin Johnson, 33, told NBC News that doctors thought he was going to die at the age of 29 because his liver was so severely damaged from drinking alcohol.

“It was normal to me, coming home after work, getting drunk, calling friends up drunk, playing video games drunk,” Johnson said. “It was to the point where I would fall asleep with the bottle in my hand.”

Based on recently reported trends, he is not the only one around his age suffering from severe liver disease.

In the past, cirrhosis of the liver was mostly experienced by middle-aged or older people, but there is a growing trend of young people coming down with the potentially fatal disease.

Deaths attributed to cirrhosis of the liver sharply increased between the years 2009 and 2016, according to a 2018 study. This included a marked increase in deaths among people ages 25 to 34.

A report published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology in March 2022 claimed that deaths associated with cirrhosis of the liver continued to rise between the years 2017 and 2020, with yet another notable increase in deaths between the ages of 25 to 34.

This was especially true for women, according to the report.

Society-wide government shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic made things even worse.

Researchers have speculated on possible causes for the increase, including the economic uncertainty and isolation during pandemic lockdowns, which may have driven increased alcohol use in certain age demographics.

Dr. Elliot Tapper, a liver disease expert and gastroenterology specialist at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, told NBC that the cause could also be due to people “drinking more per unit volume” because the potency of alcoholic beverages has increased.

Another liver specialist said she has noticed an increase in young people developing liver disease due to drinking.

“We’re definitely seeing younger and younger patients coming in with what we previously thought was advanced liver disease seen in patients only in their middle age, 50s and 60s,” Dr. Jessica Mellinger told NBC.

Mellinger, along with other doctors at the Michigan Alcohol Improvement Network, has attempted to refer patients with liver disease to doctors specializing in addiction and mental health care. She said research shows this work prevents relapses.

While alcohol-related illnesses and deaths have been on the rise in recent years, the numbers still do not hold a candle to the number of obesity-related conditions and fatalities logged in the United States every year, which have only skyrocketed as Americans continue to steadily put on weight, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.

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Bob Harris
Bob Harris
10 days ago

Watch the advertising, promotion of alcohol abuse is everywhere.