20 December 2016

Cirrhosis steals unnoticed

British doctors recommend limiting yourself to 14 servings of alcohol per week

Anna Stavina, XX2 century

Women who regularly drink more than 3.5 bottles of wine a week should check the condition of the liver. This is reported in the draft version of the new standard for medical consultations in England, which will be in effect from December 19, 2016 to February 2, 2017. The final version of the standard is expected to appear in January 2017.

According to experts from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the threshold value for men is slightly higher: 5 bottles of wine or 50 servings of alcohol per week.

Cirrhosis of the liver can be asymptomatic until the moment when it completely stops its work. Usually, cirrhosis has been developing for several years by the time of liver failure, so general practitioners, according to the new recommendations, should send all patients who have been drinking alcohol in "dangerous" quantities for months to a liver scan.

Early initiation of treatment can prevent the development of serious disorders.

According to the Ministry of Health of England (Public Health England), the behavior of approximately 2 million residents of the country falls under the criteria of "dangerous" alcohol consumption. Thresholds are considered to be over 50 servings of alcohol per week for men and over 35 for women.

Experts of the National Health Service of Great Britain (National Health System, NHS) recommend that adults limit themselves to 14 servings of alcoholic beverages per week, distributing this amount of alcohol for at least three days.

Standard serving ("standard drink", "drink", drink) is a measure of alcohol consumption, representing a hypothetical drink containing a fixed amount of pure alcohol. A standard drink varies in volume depending on the alcohol concentration in the drink (for example, a "standard portion" of strong alcohol – vodka, cognac, whiskey – is represented by a much smaller volume than a "standard drink" of beer), but it always contains the same amount of pure alcohol and, therefore, causes, on average, that the same degree of intoxication.

The size of the "standard portion" varies in different countries. For example, in the United States, a "standard drink" contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol. This roughly corresponds to a glass (350 ml) of beer, a glass (150 ml) of wine or a stack (44 ml) of strong alcohol. In Australia, the "standard drink" contains 10 grams of alcohol, and in Japan – about 20 grams.

Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Head of NICE, says: "In many people, liver disease does not manifest itself in any way until it is too late.

If it can be recognized at an early stage, a simple lifestyle change or treatment may be enough to restore the liver. Early diagnosis is vital, it is a way to prevent and stop the harm that alcohol abuse causes to the liver."

Dr Andrew Fowell, hepatologist at Portsmouth National Health Service Hospital in Portsmouth (Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust) notes: "Only by identifying patients at risk of liver disease and referring them for non-invasive diagnosis of cirrhosis, we can be sure that such patients will receive the necessary treatment and support early enough to prevent serious complications.

Ten years ago, the diagnosis of cirrhosis required a biopsy, but now, with the development of non-invasive technologies, the process of diagnosis has become easier and easier for both patients and doctors."

Liver elastography is able to detect cirrhosis
long before the first symptoms appear.

As a diagnostic intervention in the draft version of the new standard, it is proposed to apply the technique of transient elastography based on the use of ultrasonic waves and low-frequency vibrations. The procedure is painless and does not injure the skin – for the patient it differs little from a conventional ultrasound examination.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru  20.12.2016

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