1950s children most at risk from liver disease in Denmark

This could pose problems for Denmark’s healthcare system in the future, say experts.

A new study reveals that Danes born during the 1950s are the group most at risk of developing liver disease. In total, over 850,000 Danes drink too much alcohol.

READ MORE: More elderly Danes getting alcohol treatment

The summer of ’59 continued indefinitely
DR reports that the Aarhus University Hospital study has found that those born between 1950 and 1959 are the most likely to suffer chronic liver damage due to the excessive consumption of alcohol.

“There is a marked difference. It was a generation that emerged most clearly in our numbers,” said Thomas Deleuran, a doctor and PhD holder at Aarhus University Hospital.

The intoxication of youth
The high rates of liver damage among the demographic testify to how they went on to hit the bottle hard.

They were young at a time when Danes started drinking a lot,” explained Janne Schurmann Tolstrup, a professor at the National Institute of Public Health.

The fallout
This poses a problem for the healthcare system, say experts. As more and more people from this generation enter nursing homes, the challenges will be very different from the ones seen today.

“Old people who come in with liver damage as a result of excessive alcohol consumption need very different kinds of treatment to the people at nursing homes today,” Tolstrup said.

She believes that municipalities need to start the process of coming up with effective solutions as soon as possible.

And a number of them seem to be working on doing just that – Silkeborg Municipality in Jutland conducted independent research and found that 11 percent of people over 65 had a tendency to excessively consume alcohol.

The municipality is now training healthcare assistants and other professionals who work with the elderly on how to effectively broach the subject of alcohol consumption with patients.

“Alcohol is a taboo topic – and when something is taboo, the language used when talking about it needs to be sensitive. So that is among the things we’re teaching,” said Anita Hjort Rasmussen, who works for the municipality.