Liver disease

Deaths from liver disease are increasing in England. This is in contrast to other major causes of death which have been declining, and in contrast to most other European countries where liver disease deaths are falling.

Liver disease is a major cause of premature mortality. Almost two-thirds (64%) of deaths in England from chronic liver disease are people aged between 35 and 64 years. It is a disease of inequality, with wide variation in death rates between local authorities in England, and higher death rates in deprived compared to more affluent areas. Death rates are higher among men compared to women.

Most liver disease is preventable. Over 90% of deaths are due to three risk factors which are amenable to public health intervention: alcohol, viral hepatitis and obesity.

Public Health England publishes Liver Disease Profiles which contain indicators for upper and lower tier local authorities in England on mortality, hospitalisation and risk factors.

Key findings for the Lancashire-14 area

  • Between 2013 and 2015, there were 1,081 deaths at age under-75 years from liver disease (702 males and 379 females).
  • The death rates for Blackpool (44.4), Blackburn with Darwen (34.7), and Lancashire-12 (24.7) were statistically significantly higher than the England average (18.0). The Blackpool rate was the highest in England.
  • The death rate for Lancashire-12 districts ranged from 14.7 in Ribble Valley to 34.2 in Burnley.
  • The death rate for males was around double the rate for females.
  • Death rates have increased over time; between 2001-03 and 2013-15 the number of deaths across Lancashire-14 increased by more than a third (i.e. from 781 to 1,081 or 38.4%).
  • Alcohol was the most common cause of liver disease deaths – almost half of all deaths were alcohol related.
  • In 2014/15 there were 2,156 hospital admissions due to liver disease.
  • The hospital admission rate for Blackpool (223.6), Blackburn with Darwen (186.9), and Lancashire-12 (130.2) were statistically significantly higher than the average for England (119.2).

(Note: all rates are age standardised per 100,000 of the population)

Further data

Hospital admissions due to liver disease (XLSX 331 KB)

Under 75 mortality from liver disease (XLSX 32 KB)

Page updated February 2017