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Liver disease: NHS Doctor talks about link with alcohol

The liver is a resilient organ with incredible capabilities to regenerate itself. However each time the liver filters alcohol, some liver cells die. Is your drinking putting your health at risk?Drinking alcohol over an extended period of time can reduce the liver’s ability to develop new cells, said the NHS. Alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) is “very common in the UK”, with the number of people diagnosed with the condition experiencing an upward trend.

Once the liver is badly damaged, a person with ARLD could suffer from diarrhoea.

Loose stools is can be such a vague symptom to attribute to your drinking patterns, but it’s definitely one to take note of.

Other worrisome, but easily overlooked symptoms of fatty liver disease include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling sick
  • Feeling generally unwell

The NHS pointed out the UK recommended guidelines not to drink any more than 14 units in a week.

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In addition, abuse flomax people are advised to spread their drinking over three days or more.

There are three main stages of ARLD:

  • Fatty liver disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis

The first stage, fatty liver disease, can develop from drinking a large quantity of alcohol even just for a few days.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, this could have easily been done when celebrating various occasions.

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Examples could include stag dos, hen nights, weddings, birthdays and holidays.

Drinking large quantities of alcohol – even sporadically – can cause fat cells to build up in the liver.

At this stage their rarely are any symptoms of the damage done to your liver, aside from a hangover, most likely.

If you stop drinking alcohol for two weeks following such a binge then the liver can start to repair itself and return to normal.

Alcohol misuse over a longer period of time leads to alcoholic hepatitis, which can also be induced from a heavy binge drinking session.

“The liver damage associated with mild alcoholic hepatitis is usually reversible if you stop drinking permanently,” said the national health body.

Severe alcoholic hepatitis is a “serious and life-threatening illness” that “many people die from”.

Once the liver becomes significantly scarred, cirrhosis can be diagnosed, which generally isn’t reversible.

However if you stop drinking alcohol immediately, further damage can be prevented and “significantly increase your life expectancy”.

“A person who has alcohol-related cirrhosis and does not stop drinking has a less than 50 percent chance of living for at least five more years,” warned the NHS.

If you’d like support to help you stop drinking you can seek advice on Alcohol Change UK.

Drinkline offers a free confidential helpline for people concerned about their drinking; call on 0300 123 1110 weekdays 9am to 8pm, or weekends 11am to 4pm.

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