Boozy Brits face disease timebomb

An update on British drinking habits and liver disease:

“There’s been a frightening increase in alcoholic liver disease in recent years,” said Dr. Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians.

Deaths from cirrhosis in Britain increased dramatically over the past two decades, while they fell steadily everywhere else in the Western world, according to government statistics.

In England and Wales, 17.5 deaths of every 100,000 men were due to cirrhosis in 2002, up from 8.3 in 1987. And in Scotland, the increase was even more dramatic: 16.9 cirrhosis deaths per every 100,000 men in 1987 to 45.2 per 100,000 in 2002.

By comparison, the overall U.S. cirrhosis rate has fallen from 15 deaths per 100,000 in 1973 to nine per 100,000 in 2004. In the European Union, the rate in the early 1980s was about 20 per 100,000 deaths; by 2004, it had fallen to 13 per 100,000. Neither the U.S. nor the EU provided a breakdown between men and women.