DCSIMG

Calls to cut down on your alcohol intake

Chris Shorrock (below), Blackpools clinical leader for liver disease says more people are dying of chronic liver disease than cancer.

Chris Shorrock (below), Blackpools clinical leader for liver disease says more people are dying of chronic liver disease than cancer.

After the overindulgence of Christmas and seeing in the New Year with a drink, many people are taking part in “Dry January” in detox.

But a leading gastroenterologist is urging the people to use the month as a “spring board” to change their lifestyles.

Chris Shorrock, Blackpool’s clinical leader for liver disease, said chronic liver disease was one of the main 
causes of death in the UK.

He said: “More people are dying of chronic liver disease than cancer, and it’s affecting more people of a younger age – more people of a younger age are dying of the disease than anywhere else in Europe.

“The main cause of the disease is alcohol, particularly in young people because of the recent trend in binge drinking.

“People think they can detox, not drinking maybe two or three times a week but then have a week’s units in one go. That’s more damaging to your liver than drinking every day and is why we’re seeing more cirrhosis in young people.”

Dr Shorrock said Blackpool had some of the highest figures of people dying from alcohol liver disease.

He added: “The North West has the highest mortality from alcohol liver disease, and it’s mainly prevalent in areas of social deprivation, and some of the worst such places are in Blackpool.”

Dr Shorrock’s comments come as health facilities mark January as Love Your Liver month.

He is calling on people to use the month to think about how much they drink, and if they think it’s too much to cut down on their weekly alcohol intake.

“I am not going to be a killjoy and tell people they can’t drink, but it’s important people have an alcohol-free night,” he said.

“If you’re going to drink, don’t binge drink and just make sure that you’re drinking sensibly.”

Another common liver condition is non-alcohol fatty liver disease, which is associated with obesity and diabetes, and is the most common cause of transplant in the USA.

Dr Shorrock said it was a growing concern in the UK.

“I’m certainly seeing more of it as a specialist,” he added.

What he is keen to see is people making changes to their diet and eating habits to make sure they are not harming their livers.

He said: “We need to be eating food high in fibre and low in saturated fat, and we need to be doing more exercise.

“It’s only by managing your diet, drinking habits and exercise that you can reduce the risk of developing a chronic liver condition.

“I have been a consultant for 20 years and before that I was working at Europe’s biggest liver transplant unit for five years.

“Every year we’ve had this Dry January where people decided to detox but it will only make a difference if people reduce their alcohol intake indefinitely. Let’s use this as a spring board to bring about a permanent change.

“You only get one liver and one chance to look after it.”

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