Liver disease responsible for most alcohol-related illness and deaths

Apr 23, 2009

Liver disease is the most prevalent cause of alcohol-related deaths, followed by car accidents and cancer, according to new research conducted in Portugal and presented today at EASL 2009, the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Liver in Copenhagen, Denmark. The study also showed that alcohol-related diseases account for 1.25% of the health expenditure in Portugal.

The study, aimed at assessing the burden of diseases attributable to alcohol consumption, showed that 3.8% of all deaths in Portugal are related to alcohol consumption and account for a death toll of 4,054 people every year. Within these, most people are killed by (28.3%, representing 1,147 individuals), followed by car accidents (26.2%, representing 1,062 individuals) and by different types of cancers associated with alcohol consumption 21%, representing 851 individuals).

According to the study, the burden of alcohol-related diseases in Portugal is 5.0%, which is higher than the global statistic estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) of about 3.2%. This is the first study designed to estimate the burden of disease attributable to alcohol consumption, specifically in Portugal.

Professor Helena Cortez-Pinto, Unidade de de Nutrição e Metabolismo, Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa, who led the study, said: "The results of the study confirm that alcohol is an important health risk factor that is particularly related to liver disease in Portugal. By quantifying the significant impact alcohol has on the nation's health, we highlight the need for effective strategies to promote lifestyle changes and moderate alcohol consumption to reduce death rates, the incidence of liver disease and related costs to the healthcare system."

In this study, researchers estimated the burden and cost of diseases attributable to alcohol drinking based on the demographic and health statistics available for 2005. The results indicate that €14.1 million is attributable to alcohol-related chronic disease admissions (liver diseases, cancer, etc.) and €82.2 million to acute alcohol-related conditions (traffic accidents and external causes), resulting in a total amount of €96.3 million. Furthermore, ambulatory costs of alcohol-related diseases were estimated as €93 million, totaling €189.2 million direct costs attributable to alcohol, which represent 0.13% of the Portuguese Gross Domestic Product and 1.25% of total national health expenditures.

The study population included all individuals from the mainland, aged 15 or over, and was estimated using the data from the Portuguese National Health Survey of 2005. The results differed according to gender, with 5.6% of deaths occurring in men and representing 6.2% of the disease burden, while 3.6% of deaths occurring in women and represented 1.8% of the disease burden.

Source: European Association for the Study of the Liver

Explore further: US orders farms to report pig virus infections

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Alcohol and cancer: is drinking the new smoking?

Sep 26, 2007

Researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have clarified the link between alcohol consumption and the risk of head and neck cancers, showing that people who stop drinking can significantly reduce their ...

Sunday alcohol sales cause crash rise

Oct 09, 2006

A New Mexico study has found that alcohol-related car crash deaths have risen 49 percent since the state repealed a law prohibiting alcohol sales on Sundays.

Gender divide in alcohol-related deaths persists

Feb 23, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A study by the University of Glasgow and the Medical Research Council (MRC) has found that more than twice as many men die every year in Scotland from alcohol misuse than women.

Recommended for you

US orders farms to report pig virus infections

15 hours ago

The U.S. government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the country last year.

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi

16 hours ago

A foreigner has died after she contracted MERS in the Saudi capital, the health ministry said on announced Friday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 73.

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

19 hours ago

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.

New clues on tissue scarring in scleroderma

20 hours ago

A discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists could lead to potential new treatments for breaking the cycle of tissue scarring in people with scleroderma.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.