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North South divide evident in lifestyle-related liver disease deaths

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Significant variations in mortality caused by lifestyle-related liver disease exist across England, according to the new Liver Disease Profiles released by PHE.

The figures showed that the number of people who died of liver disease rose 40 per cent from 7841 to 10,948 between 2001 and 2012. A clear North/South divide was shown in the figures, with areas such as Liverpool and Wirral having liver disease mortality rates of 33.9 and 27.4 per 100,000, respectively. Southern areas such as Surrey and Hampshire had rates of 12.7 and 12.1 respectively.

There was also a variation in the rate of alcohol-related liver disease mortality between genders, with men almost five times more likely to die as women in areas like Blackburn.

Commenting on the role of primary care nurses in the treatment of the condition, Professor Julia Verne, PHE's clinical lead for liver disease, said: 'Nurses in primary care have the opportunity to inform and educate patients about liver disease and its causes, particularly those working with vulnerable and susceptible groups, such as drug users and migrants. We have seen that even a brief intervention, when a primary care worker asks the patient to consider their drinking and weight, can have a significant effect in cutting the risk of liver disease.'

PHE reports that over 90 per cent of cases of liver disease are preventable The variations have been linked to greater consumption of alcohol in certain areas and groups with other major causes being treatable, lifestyle factors such obesity, and higher rates of hepatitis B and C.

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