Young People Threatened By Deadly Health Effects of Alcohol Abuse
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In a report in the Irish Independent, a noted Dublin doctor revealed a sharp increase in young people being threatened by the deadly health effects of alcoholism and alcohol abuse.
As one of Ireland’s leading researchers and a consultant hepatologist at the Mater Hospital, Dr. Stephen Stewart explained how alarmed he has been to witness the stark increase. More and more young people are showing up at hospitals with life threatening illnesses related to alcohol abuse.
"It used to be 60-year old men," Stewart said. "There is only one guy who I saw that was 18, there was one guy who was 20 years old who died from an alcohol-related liver disease. We are seeing progressively more young to middle-aged people with end stage liver disease. They are coming in jaundiced, with cirrhosis and with bad addiction. Some of those are starting drinking very young in their life, in the mid-to-late teens.”
As a hepatologist, Dr. Stewart has extensive experience treating patients with liver problems, particularly cirrhosis. As a potentially life threatening serious liver disease, which occurs after large amounts of regular tissue is replaced by scar tissue in the liver, cirrhosis tends to only be seen in older patients. With alcohol abuse happening at younger and younger ages in Ireland, cirrhosis is now becoming a serious health problem for young people as well.
"Alcohol is the World Health Organization's class one carcinogen. It's one of the few really well-known cancer causing agents," Stewart said. "The real problems come from repeated, even moderate to heavy use ... It increases risk of cancer, it increases risk of liver disease. It massively increases risk of breast cancer and suicide. Those are the issues long-term.”