Alcohol use disorders have also increased over the last decade, with an 80 percent spike among women. As the craft beer, spirits and “mommy juice” wine cultures surge, doctors across the country are seeing a growing problem: sick livers.
More people are drinking too much alcohol, causing a rise in alcoholic liver disease (ALD). The diseases of the liver are fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer. Some of the early symptoms of ALD include chronic fatigue, poor appetite, itchy skin and abdominal pain and swelling.
In most cases, moderate drinking — one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men — will not lead to ALD, but overindulging can. And for those already suffering from liver disease — some of whom may not know it — even small amounts of alcohol can exacerbate their liver damage.
Death rates increase
One of the scariest statistics out there that the mortality related to alcohol use is increasing the most in people 25 to 34 years old. The number of drinkers in that age bracket who died nearly tripled between 1999 and 2016, with an average increase around 10 percent every year.
That same study reveals that women had a 50 percent increase in alcohol-related cirrhosis during that seven-year period; the rate for men rose 30 percent.
In the United States the rate of alcohol use disorders, a medical term that combines alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, has shot up 50 percent in the past 10 years — reflecting an 80 percent spike for women, according to the most recent National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III, sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the alcohol research arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Discovering the cause
Because women absorb and metabolize alcohol differently, it makes women more susceptible to damaging the liver than men. The hypothesis is that certain hormones play a role, Mellinger says. Women also have less body water, so women have higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood when compared with men who drank the equivalent amount.
Women also have a new attitude about drinking.There is this ‘mommy juice’ culture, this ‘mommy juice’ humor involving wine that’s normalizing over-drinking. Unfortunately, there is nothing funny about alcoholic liver disease.
Think you have a problem or could be at risk of ALD? Make an appointment with your doctor today.