You and Yours: Do you drink too much?

Excellent Radio 4 programme about alcohol dependence:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04d4hpy

Programme synopsis:

What would make YOU cut down your drinking? A group of MPs and Peers wants compulsory health warnings on bottles of wine and beer, just like cigarette packets. Would that make you drink less?

They also want a minimum price for alcohol, and to reduce the alcohol limit for drink driving, particularly for young drivers.

More than a million hospital admissions a year are caused by alcohol, and more than 15,000 deaths. Alcohol increases the risk of illnesses including cancer and heart disease, and has led to liver disease in young people doubling in 20 years.

The risks of drinking alcohol have been known for many years, but we’re still drinking too much.

What would it take to make you cut your drinking? Or if you have managed to cut down – how did you do it, and what prompted you to make the change?

Highlights:

  • 75% of patients present not knowing that they are in end stage liver disease as the liver has no nerve fibres therefore we experience no pain from our liver
  • Average alcohol intake for patients in end stage liver disease seen by Consultant is 150 units, so 2 bottles of wine a night.
  • Alcohol is the single biggest cause of premature mortality of people of working age in the UK.
  • Increase in liver disease driven by affordability and availability of alcohol
  • Recommends if you are a daily drinker to reduce your drinking to every other day or to take a couple of days off in a row to try to reset your tolerance
  • Alcohol is a drug of dependence and you increase tolerance in your brain
  • He also talks about a new ‘Traffic lights’ blood test for liver disease that has been developed at Southampton University and the city general hospital which you can read more about here

Features:

Dr Nick Sheron, Consultant Liver Specialist who runs the Liver Unit at Southampton General Hospital and academic clinical hepatologist at University of Southampton.

Sarah Hanratty, Head of Corporate Affairs from the Portman Group.  Interestingly her former roles included Press Secretary to the Leader of the House of Lords and Strategic Communications Manager for the Cabinet Office.

It’s a good show and absolutely worth a listen if you are able to access it.

24 days to go

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