Chronic liver disease: key points

  • There are a variety of risk factors and diseases that cause chronic liver disease (CLD). The three commonest risk factors for CLD are excessive alcohol consumption; obesity; and blood borne viruses, in particular Hepatitis B and C. In this publication Alcoholic Liver Disease is included as part of Chronic Liver Disease throughout.
  • Overall, CLD mortality rates decreased between 2003 and 2012 and have remained relatively static over the most recent three years.
  • Hospital stays including a diagnosis of CLD increased markedly between 1982/83 and 2006/07. Rates then remained relatively stable until around 2012/13, and have since been increasing. Over the last two years admissions for non-alcohol related chronic liver disease have accounted for the majority of this increase. 
  • Most recent figures show a little change in the alcoholic liver disease hospital stay rate for 2015/16 compared to the previous year. However, there has been an increase in the rates of hospital stays associated with other forms of chronic liver disease.
  • In 2015, CLD mortality rates were almost six times higher in the most deprived decile (34 per 100,000 population) compared to the least deprived decile (6 per 100,000). In 2015/16, CLD morbidity rates were five times higher in the most deprived decile (435 per 100,000 population) compared to the least deprived decile (88 per 100,000 population).
  • In 2015/16 both CLD mortality and morbidity rates in males are almost twice those in females. Since 2014, mortality rates have increased by 10% for women but decreased by 10% for males.

Section updates:

  • The last major update of this section was completed in December 2016.
  • The next major update is due to be carried out by end December 2017.