More and more Americans are developing serious liver diseases like cirrhosis and liver cancer due to their drinking habits, new research has found.
The study, published on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, adds to mounting evidence showing that liver problems due to alcohol are becoming a more serious problem in the U.S. Studies from the past few years have shown that more young people are dying of liver failure, liver disease is becoming a leading cause of death, and that alcohol-related problems are the number one reason for liver transplants in America, NBC News reported.
Now, with evidence that serious liver diseases are becoming more common, researchers set out to determine just how big a role alcohol plays in those diseases. The study’s lead author, Robert Wong, saw “a lot of patients with advanced alcoholic fatty liver disease,” which led him to start investigating — and binge-drinking is a huge indicator.
There are some concerns that binge-drinking is “part of the culture for the American millennial,” said Elliot Tapper, a liver disease specialist who has conducted other studies on alcohol-related liver damage. Younger adults are especially seeing a rise in severe liver diseases, and their drinking habits have “no historical precedent,” Tapper said.
Further research will need to be done in order to determine the best way to combat this trend, but for now, this study gives “more attention to a very serious problem,” said Sammy Saab, a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.