Hispanics Have Highest U.S. Death Rate Liver Cirrhosis
Hispanics have the highest death rate from cirrhosis of the liver according the a new study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the AP/Bergen Record reports. Using mortality data from 1997, the first year Hispanic origin was listed on death certificates in all states, researchers found a cirrhosis death rate of 13 per 100,000 for whites of Hispanic ethnicity. African Americans had a rate of 8.7 and non-Hispanic whites had a rate of 6.8. Overall, the rate of death from cirrhosis in 1997 was 7.4 per 100,000 according to the findings, which are in the August issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Mary Dufour, deputy director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said, "The new Hispanic ethnicity distinction on certificates of death corrects the decades old belief that black males are at greatest risk of cirrhosis death." With more than half of cirrhosis deaths linked to alcohol use, Frederick Stinson, the study's lead author, said doctors may want to pay "more attention" to alcohol use among their Hispanic patients. He added that while other studies have indicated that Hispanic men do not drink more than other men, they are likely to "drink heavily on weekends." Besides alcohol consumption, Stinson said poverty and "low use" of health care services contributed to the cirrhosis death rate. Researchers also examined deaths rates for heart disease, cancer, stroke, lung disease, pneumonia, diabetes, and Alzheimer's, but liver cirrhosis was the only disease for which Hispanics had an "elevated rate" of death (Schmid, AP/Bergen Record, 8/16).