A recent report from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine highlights a worrying trend rising among women. More specifically, non-Hispanic white women are more likely to develop disorders related to alcohol abuse in comparison with women of color as well as have a higher risk of death due to it.
These findings are important specifically because they occur in considerably younger women between the ages of twenty-five to thirty-four.
Alcohol-related liver disease is a chronic health condition and a major problem prevailing in the adult population in the US. Research on the issue shows that around eight to ten percent of Americans are more likely to develop it since they drink heavily on a regular basis.
Heavy drinking refers to consuming more than eight to ten glasses of alcoholic drinks per day. In the long term, such high alcohol consumption leads to the development of alcohol-related liver disease.
If a person does not discontinue drinking and seek medical attention immediately, the disease may progress further into liver cirrhosis and may also become life-threatening.
Typically, it takes around ten years of alcohol abuse to develop ARLD as well as cirrhosis, which is why the disease is mostly diagnosed in older adults.
However, the new research shows its rise in comparatively much younger women. The new trends are worrying, according to the researchers of the study.
Previously, alcohol-related liver diseases were more common in men and there was a much bigger gap in mortality rates between men and women as well. Now, the statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism show that the gap is narrowing at a fast rate.
In the new study, researchers examined data of people developing and dying from ARLD from the year 1999 to 2018. During this time period, approximately, 281,243 lost their lives to liver issues associated with alcohol abuse.
Overall, it was noted that mortality rates remained higher in men but the gap was not as big as it used to be three decades ago. The development of ARLD was especially more common in women between the ages of twenty-five to thirty-four. Premature deaths were also likely to occur in this very age group of women.
On the other hand, men in the similar age group were less likely to have the disease as well as lose their lives due to it.
Secondly, the researchers also noted that women with ARLD also died earlier in comparison with men.
Although it is unclear why women are increasingly being diagnosed with alcohol-related liver disease and dying from it, other health issues such as obesity and alcoholic hepatitis may play a role.
In addition to health problems, other factors may also play a role including education level, socio-economic class, and more.
Generally, there has been a rise in alcohol abuse and ARLD in the US in all age groups, races, and ethnicities overall but some specific groups may be more vulnerable to the health condition as well as dying from it.
For now, the researchers agree that further investigation is needed to know more about the increase in the prevalence of ARLD in women.