LIVER DISEASE FEARS
FOR YOUNG WOMEN
|Alcoholic liver disease causes many deaths
Doctors in Yorkshire say there's increasing
evidence of liver disease amongst young women caused by drinking excess
Hospitals are used to seeing women with liver damage
in their forties and fifties - now they're seeing the symptoms in women
who are in their twenties and thirties.
Binge drinking, happy hours and the ready availability
of alcopops are blamed for this worrying trend which some doctors believe
is going to cost the NHS tens of millions of pounds.
|Dr Fleur Ashby
treats people with alcohol problems
Dr Fleur Ashby from Kendray Hospital in Barnsley says
the situation is worrying and peculiarly British.
"There are women out there who are trying to drink as
much as the lads… but the way their bodies are built mean they can't tolerate
the same amount of alcohol."
"Many of them are coming through by displaying physical
symptoms and these are getting picked up by their GPs.
" People are binge
drinking and a percentage of these people are now drinking in a more dependent
fashion as a result."
One former drinker, who was displaying the warning signs
of liver damage, says the effects of alcohol can be devastating.
|A healthy liver
"You don't know what damage you're doing to yourself.
Your whole body is shattered - you can't sleep, you can't control your
eating, you can't control your bowels. You are just messing up your life."
It's believed that alcoholic liver disease accounts for
between 5,000 - 6,000 deaths a year.
These pictures show a comparison
between a healthy and diseased liver.
liver shows the devastating effects of drinking excess alcohol.
Government safe drinking levels recommend that women
drink a maximum of 14 units of alcohol a week.
The safe recommended level for men is 21 units.
believe these levels are being routinely breached in weekend drinking
Critics of the alcohol industry say young people, and
women in particular, are being targeted with a vast range of alcopops
with fruit juice tastes laced with vodka or other spirits.
Doctors admit they're fighting a losing battle with more
and more bars offering happy hours and cheap drinks.
OF HEAVY DRINKING
Damage to unborn children
Increased risks of some types of cancer
Dr Dermot Gleeson, a liver expert from the Royal Hallamshire
Hospital in Sheffield says, "This is a huge industry, about £10-12 billion
is raised in tax."
"There is a case for increasing the tax on alcohol because
it is less expensive than it used to be."
Even those in the licensed trade believe there's a need
for reform with better and larger labelling on bottles to indicate how
many units of alcohol each one contains.
Roger Hodgkinson, Chairman of the British Institute of
Inn Keeping says, "You could even argue that there should be better labelling
on the pumps on bars so that people are getting as much information as
If you are worried about the affects of alcohol on yourself
or someone else, Sheffield Alcohol Advisory Service offer free and confidential
counselling. They can be contacted via their website (see links section
below) or at:
Sheffield Alcohol Advisory Service
646 Abbeydale Road
Telephone: 0114 258 7553
Many other towns and cities arcoss the country have similar