Alcohol-Related Deaths Can Go Undetected for Years

Alcohol-related liver disease is the leading cause of death from excessive drinking — and while it’s curable in the earliest stages, many people don’t realize they have it until it’s too late to reverse.


Annual deaths caused by the disease are on the rise in the United States, having climbed 39 percent in recent years, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Death rates are highest in men and adults aged 50 to 64, though they are increasing more quickly among women and younger adults.

“People who are drinking are drinking more heavily than they were before, so I think that is the biggest factor,” said Dr. Jessica Mellinger, an assistant professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Michigan Medical School. And, she added, “we’re seeing that for the first time in this country, women are drinking as much as men.”

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