I chose the article titled "More Americans are Dying of Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer" written by Nicholas Bakalar in the New York Times for purposes of this research. As the title suggests, more Americans especially young adults have been losing their lives in the last decade. The article states that the death rates between 1999 and 20l6 have risen to 34,174, which is a 65% increase. A majority of individuals who are dying from these alcohol-related diseases are aged between 25 and 34 years old. Youth are consuming alcoholic beverages at an alarming rate in the modern age.
Between 2009 and 2016 alone, the average mortality related to cirrhosis was 10.5% of young adults aged 25 to 30 (Bakalar, 2018). This speaks more of the culture society has inculcated in the youth about alcohol. In some societies, there has been a long-standing belief makes a man more manly. In such instances, a man has to be at the local bar after work for a catching up session with 'the boys.' When this trend becomes too common, the man finds himself trapped in drugs and alcohol abuse, a situation which makes them lose focus on how to keep their families. Abuse of alcohol not only leads to cirrhosis but also serious psychological effects on the individual as well as his family. Most of the income is spent on treating the illness while the individual puts himself at risk of losing his job or running down his business.
Before this surge in mortality rates, cases of cirrhosis had declined between 1999 and 2008 (Bakalar, 2018). Media campaigns can often result in greater awareness about the negative effects of alcohol. However, it reaches a point where the people involved in alcohol abuse do not care anymore about the negative effects of alcohol. They prefer to live under the slogan "You Only Live Once" and forget that our health in the future depends on how our consumption decisions today. Lack of effort from agencies tasked with the protection of the public health may also be a factor in the increase in mortality rates during this period. Most of these organizations tend to be reactive rather than proactive to cases of death from alcohol-related conditions.
Between the years 1999 and 2016, there was a 100% increase in the deaths occurring due to liver cancer (Bakalar, 2018). There was an average annual increase of 2.1% in the rate increased to 3% between 2008 and 2016. During this period, deaths of African-Americans, Whites, and Native Americans rose by 2% while the rates among Pacific Islanders and Asians reduced by 2.7%. Asians tend to have strict cultural rules concerning the lifestyles of their people. Asians and Pacific Islanders are more willing to help each other out of drug abuse to protect the family name and their heritage. This may have been a factor in the decline of deaths as a result of liver cancer.
Cirrhosis is the irreparable scarring of the liver and has many causes. It occurs when the liver is trying to respond to damage. While there is a progression in cirrhosis, there is the formation of more scar tissue, leading to difficulty in liver functioning. This condition is best described using the term decompensated cirrhosis (Elkrief et al., 2015). It describes specific complications that occur as a result of changes that cirrhosis causes. The condition can be life-threatening. The damage to the liver generally cannot be reversed. However, early diagnosis and treatment of the liver can prevent further damage.
Cirrhosis does not reveal its signs and symptoms until an extensive damage to the liver occurs. When they finally occur, they may include itchy skin, easy bruising, easy bleeding, fatigue, yellow skin discoloration, abdominal fluid accumulation, nausea, and loss of appetite. There are a number of factors that have been known to cause cirrhosis. Some of the common ones include chronic hepatitis B and C, accumulation of fat in the liver, and chronic alcohol abuse (Korsal et al., 2016). Other causes are cystic fibrosis, Wilson's disease, Alagille syndrome, poor formation of bile ducts, infection and inherited disorders.
Cirrhosis often results in complications to the human body as well. Some of these complications may include portal hypertension, leg swellings, spleen enlargement, Bleeding, malnutrition, and infections (Korsal et al., 2016). In order to reduce the risk of suffering from worsening the cirrhosis, individuals need to adopt a healthy diet, avoid alcohol intake, avoid hepatitis B and C, and avoid excessive body fat.
Overall, data shows that the deaths due to cirrhosis and liver cancer are increasing at an alarming rate. Cirrhosis occurs when the liver scars continuously while it repairs damage to the liver. Young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 are the majority among these cases. Some of the symptoms of cirrhosis include itchy skin, easy bruising, easy bleeding, fatigue, and yellow skin discoloration. It is known to be caused by hepatitis B and C, accumulation of fat in the liver, and chronic alcohol abuse. Chronic alcohol abuse is definitely the major cause of cirrhosis. At such a young age, most youths tend to make poor decisions hence it is the responsibility of health organizations to remind them about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.
Bakalar, N. (2018). More Americans Are Dying of Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/health/cirrhosis-liver-cancer.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=healthion=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentP
Elkrief, L., Buyse, S., Panhard, X., Baudry, C., Moreau, R., Rautou, P. E., ... & Paradis, V. (2015). P0213: Diabetes is a major determinant for refractory ascites in patients with cirrhosis and is associated with hepatic microcirculatory changes. Journal of Hepatology, 62, S386.
Korsal, D., Seref, A., & Gurakar, A. (2016). Pulmonary manifestations among patients with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis. Journal and Clinical and Translational Hepatology, 258-262.
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