Blackpool residents are more at risk of liver disease

People from Blackpool are nearly eight times as likely to die from liver disease as those from Norfolk, new research reveals.

Some 30.1 per 100,000 people from the north-west seaside town die from the condition before the age of 75. This is compared to just 3.9 per 100,000 in south Norfolk, according to data from Public Health England. 

The regional differences are thought to be related to variations in affluence, with Blackpool being followed by north Manchester, Wolverhampton, Liverpool and Blackburn for the highest rates of early liver disease death.

After south Norfolk, the least affected areas are Aylesbury Vale, Barnet, and north and west Norfolk.

Further to affluence, these regional differences have also been attributed to stark inequalities in the quality of healthcare throughout England, which makes certain people more susceptible to the main risk factors for liver disease; namely excessive alcohol, obesity, and hepatitis B and C.

People from Blackpool are eight times as likely to die from liver disease as those from Norfolk


Patients with liver disease may be able to avoid an early death simply by brushing their teeth properly, research suggested in April.

Inflamed gums caused by poor oral hygiene can harbour bacteria that then travel to the liver and may cause death in diseased patients, according to scientists from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark.

Lead author Dr Lea Ladegaard Gronkjaer, said: ‘Our study showed severe periodontitis strongly predicted higher mortality in cirrhosis.

‘Periodontitis may act as a persistent source of oral bacterial translocation, causing inflammation and increasing cirrhosis complications.’ 

Periodontitis is the scientific term for gum disease.

Alcohol-related hospitalisations vary substantially  

Alcohol-specific hospital admissions also differ substantially throughout the country, with higher rates being associated with more deprived areas, such as north Manchester, Islington and Tower Hamlets, which have rates of 308.3, 277.25 and 261.55 per 100,000 people, respectively.

In more affluent areas, such as Ashford, Herefordshire and south-east Hampshire, the rates are just 36.47, 48.67 and 50.52 per 100,000. 

Despite the aforementioned regional differences, overall hospital admission rates for cirrhosis have doubled throughout England from 54.8 to 108.4 per 100,000, the data reveals. 

Cirrhosis is irreversible scarring of the liver, which can cause permanent damage.  

Yet, liver disease-related deaths, as well as hospital admissions in those aged under 18, have declined throughout England.

PHE believes their findings will enable doctors to better treat patients and will help tackle the rising burden of liver disease, particularly in young people.   

Up to 90% of cases are preventable  

Liver disease is almost entirely preventable, with up to 90 per cent of cases being caused by excessive alcohol intake, obesity, and hepatitis B and C. It causes almost 12 per cent of deaths in men aged between 40 and 49 years old. 

As well as being a main cause of premature mortality, liver disease is also the fourth most common driver of lost life years in people younger than 75 after heart disease and lung cancer.

Professor Julia Verne, head of clinical epidemiology at PHE, said: ‘Chronic liver disease is a silent killer of young adults, creeping up and showing itself when it’s often too late. However, around 90 per cent of liver disease is preventable.

‘We hope local health professionals will make the most of this rich data source to inform how they reduce the burden of liver disease in their areas.’