Alcohol use in the UK continues to be one of the greater challenges that we as a society face. Here are some key facts about Alcohol use in this country
- Alcohol is 45% more affordable than it was in 1980
- Alcohol misuse costs England approximately £21bn per year in healthcare, crime and lost productivity costs
- Average alcohol consumption has gradually fallen in many OECD countries between 1980 and 2009 with an average overall decrease of 9%. The United Kingdom however, has seen an increase of over 9% in these three decades
For those patients that have been told by family and friends or have come to realise themselves that their alcohol intake is too high and that they need some help; I provide an alcohol withdrawal service for both in and outpatients.
Withdrawing from alcohol dependence can be traumatic so it is important that you seek help and do not try to do this alone.
There are three main liver diseases that are caused by excessive alcohol consumption:
- Fatty liver disease
- Alcoholic hepatitis
Of these three diseases, cirrhosis is the most life-threatening. Cirrhosis refers to scarring of the liver tissue and occurs after prolonged liver damage. This scar tissue replaces the healthy tissue and stops the liver from functioning properly. You may at first notice loss of appetite, nausea, pain in the lower right side of your ribs and a general feeling of tiredness. As the disease progresses you may experience yellowing of the skin (jaundice), vomiting blood (haematemesis), dark tarry stools (melena), shortness of breath and periods of confusion or loss of memory (hepatic encephalopathy). If you experience any of these later symptoms you should consult your doctor immediately.