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Top doc: Booze is killing Leeds people in 20s

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  • by Katie Baldwin
 

Alcohol is now killing people in their 20s in Leeds, a top doctor has warned.

A liver specialist said people were dying at a younger age than ever before as a result of regularly drinking too much.

Many more non-alcoholics are developing chronic liver disease after years of drinking at home – including people from affluent areas.

Leeds has the highest rate of hazardous drinking in the country and admissions to the city’s hospitals solely because of alcohol doubled between 2003 and 2009.

Dr Mark Aldersley, consultant hepatologist, said: “As people are drinking more and drinking younger, we are seeing people dying from alcoholic liver disease in their 20s and 30s.

“All the common causes of death are decreasing, while deaths from liver disease are increasing.”

As well as having the highest rate of hazardous drinking out of the NHS primary care trusts in England, the city has the
sixth highest level of harmful drinking.

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Nearly a quarter of people in Leeds are drinking at a level which damages their health.

And there were 228 deaths in the city from alcohol-related causes in 2009.

New figures also show Yorkshire residents underestimate the amount they drink, with fewer than 30 per cent admitting they drink more than recommended.

Dr Aldersley, of St James’s Hospital in Leeds and Spire Leeds Hospital, added: “We are noticing big changes with more people in their twenties and thirties dying from alcohol-related causes.

“Twenty years ago this was rare.

“People are starting to drink at a younger age and are drinking larger quantities.”

Gipton GP Dr Jason Broch, chairman of NHS Leeds North Clinical Commissioning Group, said within their 200,000-strong population there were communities suffering hardship which also had alcohol-related problems. “What we are also beginning to see is a rise in the numbers of people living in more affluent parts of the city – like Wetherby – drinking more than the recommended limits of alcohol.

“This might be a bottle of wine after work or drinking lots of alcohol at the weekends.

“Any excessive drinking can lead to liver disease, mental health problems, weight gain, hypertension, some types of cancer, and domestic violence.”

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