World Liver Day 2016

Every year, ‘World Liver Day’ is celebrated on 19th April to spread the awareness on diseases that affect the liver. It is the only organ in the body that regenerates itself after damage. It’s function is essential for living, as it:

  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Removes toxic substances
  • Releases bile
  • Controls levels of cholesterol
  • Fights infections

Due to the liver’s importance, it is essential to keep it healthy. Alcohol, drugs and cigarettes can destroy liver cells. Alcohol is broken down in the liver. Alcohol metabolism can cause acidosis through lactic acid build-up and low levels of glucose. These symptoms leads to fatty liver, weight gain and heart attacks.

So how much alcohol is really considered safe?

Alcohol poses more dangers than originally established, according to the British government’s report. Prof. Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England has issued a new guideline stating that men as well as women should stick to no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. It is thought that the reduced consumption of alcohol will help in restoring liver health and combatting diseases like cancer. Davies was quoted as saying in the Forbes magazine:

 “Drinking any level of alcohol regularly carries a health risk for anyone.  If men and women limit their intake to no more than 14 units a week it keeps the risk of illness like cancer and liver disease low”

Davies makes it extremely clear that pregnant women should steer clear of alcohol during pregnancy. It is unadvisable to knowingly consume alcohol, as there is no prescribed safety threshold for the foetus. Research has demonstrated that 1 in 5 breast cancer cases are linked to alcohol, according to Daily Mail UK.

The spokesman on alcohol for the Royal College of Physicians, Prof. Sir Ian Gilmore, said:

“Alcohol is classified by the World Health Organisation as a class 1 carcinogen (cancer-causing agent)”

Binge drinking is another habit that should be abandoned, as consumption spread through the week is less damaging. The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK limit the weekly consumption to 21 units for men and 14 units for women.

Perhaps this world liver day, it’s time for us to reconsider our choice towards alcohol.

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