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Science
CHECK UP
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PROGRAMME INFO
Thursday 15:00-15:30
Check Up is your chance to talk to doctors about the health issues that most concern you and your family. Each week Barbara Myers is joined by a medical expert to take your calls and emails on a particular topic and give you the most up to date advice. No appointment necessary.
Call 0870 010 0444
Contact Check Up
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 16 February
PRESENTER
BARBARA MYERS
Barbara Myers
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Thursday 16 February 2006
Tray of alcoholic drinks

Full programme transcript >>

Liver Disease and Alcohol

The number of people who have been diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease is rising rapidly in the UK.

Doctors are seeing patients in their twenties and thirties with cirrhosis of the liver, brought about by excessive drinking. In the past this was a condition usually found in older people.

In Check Up this week Barbara Myers will be joined in the studio by an expert to take calls and e-mails on how alcohol and other aspects of our lifestyle can affect our livers. 

What does the liver do? 
The liver is the largest organ in the body and is a kind of chemical factory, which carries out hundreds of jobs that are vital to life.

It can take a lot of abuse and continues to function when most of it is damaged.

The liver can repair itself to some degree, but drinking too much alcohol, contracting some viruses or having some inherited diseases can cause illness.

Cirrhosis of the liver
Cirrhosis is the result of long-term, continuous damage to the organ and can lead to complete liver failure.

Again it's often regular large consumption of alcohol that is behind a diagnosis of cirrhosis, but it can also be caused by a long-lasting infection, such as hepatitis B or C, or through a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which is usually found in people who are overweight.

Symptoms of liver disease
The signs and symptoms of liver disease are often rather vague, such as fatigue and a loss of appetite and weight.

Sometimes patients don't know they are unwell until the liver damage is considerable - when their skin and eyes may be turning yellow and they may have a fever. 

Answering your questions  
Barbara Myers' guest will be in the studio to answer the listeners' questions on alcohol and liver disease. Some of the queries are as follows. What is a safe amount to drink? Can I tell if I've damaged my liver? Should I drink if I've had hepatitis? Is my liver not working properly because I am overweight? How does cirrhosis occur?

Contact the Programme
Check Up  is your opportunity to ask an expert about the condition. If you have a question, contact us by calling 0870 010 0444 from 1.30pm - 3.30pm on the day of broadcast or by emailing the programme - see 'Contact Check Up' link above.

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