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Disease burden and costs from excess alcohol consumption, obesity, and viral hepatitis: Fourth report of the Lancet Standing Commission on Liver Disease in the UK

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jess Dyson, Dr Mark Hudson

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Abstract

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. This report contains new and follow-up metric data relating to the eight main recommendations of the Lancet Standing Commission on Liver Disease in the UK, which aim to reduce the unacceptable harmful consequences of excess alcohol consumption, obesity, and viral hepatitis. For alcohol, we provide data on alcohol dependence, damage to families, and the documented increase in alcohol consumption since removal of the above-inflation alcohol duty escalator. Alcoholic liver disease will shortly overtake ischaemic heart disease with regard to years of working life lost. The rising prevalence of overweight and obesity, affecting more than 60% of adults in the UK, is leading to an increasing liver disease burden. Favourable responses by industry to the UK Government's soft drinks industry levy have been seen, but the government cannot continue to ignore the number of adults being affected by diabetes, hypertension, and liver disease. New direct-acting antiviral drugs for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection have reduced mortality and the number of patients requiring liver transplantation, but more screening campaigns are needed for identification of infected people in high-risk migrant communities, prisons, and addiction centres. Provision of care continues to be worst in regions with the greatest socioeconomic deprivation, and deficiencies exist in training programmes in hepatology for specialist registrars. Firm guidance is needed for primary care on the use of liver blood tests in detection of early disease and the need for specialist referral. This report also brings together all the evidence on costs to the National Health Service and wider society, in addition to the loss of tax revenue, with alcohol misuse in England and Wales costing £21 billion a year (possibly up to £52 billion) and obesity costing £27 billion a year (treasury estimates are as high as £46 billion). Voluntary restraints by the food and drinks industry have had little effect on disease burden, and concerted regulatory and fiscal action by the UK Government is essential if the scale of the medical problem, with an estimated 63 000 preventable deaths over the next 5 years, is to be addressed.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Williams R, Alexander G, Armstrong I, Baker A, Bhala N, Camps-Walsh G, Cramp ME, de Lusignan S, Day N, Dhawan A, Dillon J, Drummond C, Dyson J, Foster G, Gilmore I, Hudson M, Kelly D, Langford A, McDougall N, Meier P, Moriarty K, Newsome P, O'Grady J, Pryke R, Rolfe L, Rice P, Rutter H, Sheron N, Taylor A, Thompson J, Thorburn D, Verne J, Wass J, Yeoman A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The Lancet

Year: 2018

Volume: 391

Issue: 10125

Pages: 17-23

Print publication date: 17/03/2018

Online publication date: 29/11/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (print): 0140-6736

ISSN (electronic): 1474-547X

Publisher: Lancet Publishing Group

URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32866-0

DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32866-0


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