Liver disease: NHS Doctor talks about link with alcohol
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A person’s liver does a lot of things that keep you healthy. It turns nutrients into chemicals your body needs. It filters out poisons. It helps turn food into energy. So, when your liver doesn’t work well, that can affect your whole body. What are the three body parts which become affected when liver disease is progressing? Pharmacist Phil Day spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk to discuss further.
“Over the last 18 months deaths from alcoholic liver disease have increased by an unprecedented 21 percent, compared with a 2.9 percent increase between 2018 and 2019,” began Day.
He added: “The pandemic has shifted many towards alcohol and as social events return, heavy drinking for others could continue to rise.
“Drinking to excess has detrimental effects on your health.
“Regular episodes of binge drinking can lead to liver disease, and heart and kidney problems.
“It’s one of the most common causes of liver disease, which can lead to cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver and eventually liver failure, a life-threatening condition.”
Dire complications of liver disease include acute liver failure.
This happens when you don’t have a long-term liver disease, but your liver quits working within a very short time.
That may happen because of an overdose of acetaminophen, infections, or because of prescription drugs.
Cirrhosis is another dangerous complication and occurs when there is a build-up of scars in your liver.
The more scars replace the healthy parts of your liver, the harder it is for your liver to do its job.
Over time, it may not work like it should.
Other symptoms of liver disease include:
Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
Abdominal pain and swelling
Swelling in the legs and ankles
Dark urine colour
Pale stool colour
Nausea or vomiting.
“Whilst the liver is resilient and may be capable of regenerating itself, prolonged misuse of alcohol can result in serious and sometimes permanent liver damage,” said Day.
“Try to pace yourself, consider alternating your drinks with non-alcoholic ones, and be aware of how many units are in your drinks – keeping track of these can help you stay in control.”
Alcohol abuse can lead to cirrhosis, alongside non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and long-term cases of hepatitis B and C.
Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis, advised the NHS.
The health body added: “Try spread your drinking over three or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week.
“If you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week.”
Those worried about their drinking or the drinking habits of others should speak with their GP or contact a relevant charity or support group, such as Alcohol Change UK (alcoholchange.org.uk).”
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