Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal the extent to which alcoholic liver disease contributes to alcohol-related deaths in the UK.

The latest Alcohol-related deaths in the United Kingdom report shows that in England and Wales, the majority (63%, or 4,425) of all alcohol-related deaths in 2012 were caused by alcoholic liver disease. This is 18% higher than the number of deaths in 2002 (3,629).

There were a total of 8,367 alcohol-related deaths in the UK, 381 fewer than in 2011 (8,748), of which men accounted for approximately two-thirds (65%). Alcohol-related death rates in 2012 were highest among men aged 60 to 64 years (42.6 deaths per 100,000 population) and women aged 55 to 59 years (22.2/100,000).

Trend data marked an 11-year rise in alcoholic liver disease deaths between 2002 and 2012, the majority of which (31%) were among those aged 50-59 years. The number of alcoholic liver disease deaths tended to increase for those aged 40 years and over between 2002 and 2012, the biggest increase (33%) occurring among those in their 60s, according to the ONS Mortality Analysis Team.

The data also uncovered a regional divide dating back at least a decade. In England, alcohol-related death rates were highest among regions in the North and lowest among those in the South throughout the period 2002–2012.

For males, the rate in 2012 was lowest in the East of England at 10.2 per 100,000 population and highest in the North West (20.7 per 100,000). These regions also had the lowest and highest number of deaths respectively, with the North West having more than twice the number of deaths in the East of England (792 compared with 344). In addition, the North West had the highest male death rate in ten of the last eleven years.

The rates for females also tended to be highest in the North West and lowest in the East of England over the period. However, in the last two years rates have been lowest in London, standing at 5.5 per 100,000 in 2012.

For the full release and a summary of the key findings, please visit the ONS website.