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The silent killer in Norfolk


Published by Grace Mcgachy at 1:07pm 11th October 2018.

It's a silent killer in Norfolk.

A worrying number of us are being taken to hospital with alcohol related liver disease.

In the 12 months to March this year 479 people were admitted.


pints in a pub



That means a rate of 54 patients admitted for every 100,000 residents in Norfolk, higher than the national average of 39 for England.

Liver experts at the Institute of Hepatology said the figures are "horrifying" and called on the Government to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol to discourage drinking.

The data shows that men are twice as likely as women to receive hospital treatment for this illness across the country.





A spokesperson for Public Health England said:

"Liver disease is one of the top causes of death in England and people are dying from it at younger ages.

Most liver disease is preventable and much is influenced by alcohol consumption and obesity prevalence."

In 2014, the Lancet Commission on alcohol-related liver diseases estimated that health problems caused by alcohol are costing the NHS £3.5 billion a year.





Professor Roger Williams, director of the Institute of Hepatology, proposed setting a minimum price per unit of alcohol to curb drinking.

"Liver disease mortality rates have increased about 600% in the last 50 years.

That happens because alcohol consumption among the population has increased and this is linked to the fact that the costs of alcoholic drinks proportionally have fallen.

Setting a minimum alcohol price is a highly effective way of dealing with the problem. In Canada, they had a 14% drop in emergency admissions and 8% drop in mortality in the first 12 months after setting this minimum."

Scotland adopted this measure in May, setting a 50 pence minimum price per unit of alcohol. The Welsh Government is planning to implement the same lowest price next summer.



The NHS says alcohol-related liver disease doesn't usually cause any symptoms until the liver has been severely damaged.

When that happens symptoms can include feeling sick, weight loss, loss of appetite and yellowing of the eyes and skin.

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