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    Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

    Here’s why you should love your liver this month

    Here’s why you should love your liver this month

    Posted on December 27th, 2023

    After the work night outs, the Christmas celebrations and the Hogmanay parties, it’s time to give your liver a break. Because January is officially Love Your Liver month. Alcohol is the biggest cause of liver disease in the UK and according to UK government research, it’s on the rise. In fact, 16 people die from liver cancer in the UK every day. So, is it time you cut back on the tipple…?

    What causes liver disease?

    Liver disease can develop as the result of various factors. Some we have no control over, such as genetics or autoimmune disease. However, there are some factors that are within our control such as:

    • Alcohol consumption
    • Weight
    • Diet
    • Exercise

    The problem with alcohol

    A healthy liver can break down and filter alcohol but every time it does that, some of the liver cells become damaged and die. A healthy liver can repair itself and produce new cells. However, prolonged alcohol misuse can impede this ability to regenerate, cause scarring, and lead to cirrhosis.

    Alcohol related liver disease (ARLD) is all too common in the UK. So the best way to minimise your risk is to keep a close eye on your alcohol intake.

    The three stages of ARLD

    1. Alcoholic fatty liver disease: Drinking a large amount of alcohol, even if it just over the course of a few days, can lead to a build-up of fats in the liver. At this stage, if the individual stops drinking they can reverse this.
    2. Alcoholic hepatitis: This serious condition is caused by alcohol misuse over a longer period. It is usually at this stage that the individual will notice symptoms such as nausea, weight loss, jaundice, drowsiness, confusion, vomiting blood, and blood in stools.
    3. Cirrhosis: At this stage, the damage is irreversible and the liver is significantly scarred. However, whilst the scarring can’t be reversed, stopping drinking at this stage can prevent any further damage and improve life expectancy.

    How much is too much?

    The UK Chief Medical Officers’ low-risk guideline limit is a maximum of 14 units of alcohol per week. However, according to the British Liver Trust, around 1 in 5 people in the UK drink more than this – putting themselves at risk. To reduce your risk:

    • Don’t drink more than 14 units per week
    • Spread your drinking out over several days, rather than having one ‘binge drinking’ session per week
    • Aim to have 2-3 alcohol free days a week to give your body a chance to recover

    What’s the alternative?

    According to Alcohol Change, “Around 20% of the population don’t drink at all – and this figure is increasing among young people in particular”. But if you’re not quite ready to cut out alcohol completely, there are plenty of low and no-alcohol drinks widely available on the market now.

    Worried about your health?

    If you’re worried about the amount you’re drinking and the potential effects this could be having on your liver, make an appointment at YourGP. You can choose a date and time that suits you via our simple online booking system, or you can email reception@your.gp. Alternatively, you call us on 0131 225 5656 or arrange a call back via our website.

    Called Sunday at 2pm seen next day at 12pm. I had the Kenelog injection and it’s been like a switch to turn off my hay fever. From sweating and sneezing all day it’s been a complete transformation and for the first time I’m enjoying the summer. Excellent service.

    Daniel S

    YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

    Independent Healthcare Team
    Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
    0131 623 4342 | his.ihcregulation@nhs.scot

    YourGP is registered with the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) Registered Office: Station Road, North Street, Havant PO9 1QU.