alcoholic liver damage with glass of whisky

People are a risk of liver damage by drinking too much during lockdown

During lockdown, it may not surprise you to learn that the UK has seen a growth in the number of people consuming alcohol. According to sources, booze sales have risen by 20% since the crisis started. However, with people understandably focusing on avoiding the coronavirus, there are concerns other health conditions. These include conditions which were previously at the forefront and now may have become lost or overlooked amidst the crisis. For example, liver damage…People have been drinking in their homes to try to make it through the outbreak and they may not have considered the effect it has on their liver.   Or how imbibing too much can be harmful to general health.

The liver can help convert food into energy as well as cleaning out toxins found in chemicals we take in. These could be in drugs, alcohol, or other pollutants. The liver can needed to prevent infection and helps breakdown fat in the body so it can be readily absorbed. It is integral to your wellbeing.

Liver damage contributes to premature death

UnfortLiver with alcohol bottle superimposedunately, some may not realise liver disease contributes to around 33% of premature fatalities in the United Kingdom. This has risen by almost four times since the seventies. But there is light at the end of the tunnel as approximately nine out of ten liver complaints can be avoided merely by making certain changes in your habits and day to day lifestyle.

One of the two major preventable types of liver complaint is alcohol liver disease, which amounts for more than half of cases. If you drink a great deal over a long period it can cause your liver to be inflamed and swollen. This can cause scarring, resulting in cirrhosis and reduced function.

Reportedly, around 33% of the UK population also suffer from non-alcohol related fatty liver disease, which in most cases is brought on by obesity.

Signs of Liver Damage

If you have been drinking alcohol for a long time and are concerned about the state of your liver, then there are various signs to look out for. These could point to early stages of liver disease: fatigue or dark circles around the eyes, without a genetic source. You may notice a propensity for bruising or may suffer from various skin conditions such as acne. You may also experience an irritating, itchy sensation on your skin.

There have also been cases of people suffering from liver disease showing signs of soreness and swelling in legs and ankles, or beneath the lower rib cage, where the liver is found. You may also show other physical symptoms such as a dark colour in your urine. Or white, greasy stool samples could be an early sign of liver disease.

However, there are steps you can take to turn the tide and reverse the effects even if you have been consuming to excess for a long time. It is not impossible to redress the balance by reducing how much you drink. The liver is a regenerating organ with the capacity to heal itself if you give it a chance. To do that, you should cut down and moderate your alcohol intake so the liver can rejuvenate.

How alcohol causes liver damage

When you drink, alcohol is broken down in the liver, creating compounds leading to the organ becoming inflamed. Your liver metabolises the alcohol in your system right away, which can impact how it performs its usual jobs, with possible lasting effects to your health.

stage of liver damageHowever, you can take measures to avoid drinking too much and possibly damaging your liver during lockdown. Despite these difficult circumstances, where people may be more inclined to consume more than you usually would, doctors still advise not drinking more than the recommended 14 units of alcohol a week. This adds up to six pints of beer of 4% ABV.  You should try and restrict how much you drink during the week, and not consume every night. It is advised to separate the days you imbibe over a week and try to spend at least two days without consuming alcohol. This gives your liver time to recuperate.

Take care of your health in lockdown

For many people, the solution may be to reduce or moderate how much alcohol they consume. Or maybe stop drinking altogether. It may be hard in the current situation, where people may be feeling anxious and wish to escape. However, we must still be careful not to allow our ongoing health to suffer by drinking or smoking too much during lockdown. We must look forward to this crisis being over so that we can emerge in the other side in the best health. We will be ready to resume with activities in the world rather than risking our wellbeing by consuming too much alcohol, and harming our livers.