Saturday 29 April 2017

Women who drink two glasses of wine a night 'need liver scans'

Excessive drinking can cause liver scarring. Picture posed
Excessive drinking can cause liver scarring. Picture posed

Laura Donnelly London

Women who drink two glasses of wine a night should be sent for liver scans by their GPs to check for cirrhosis, new health guidance in Britain recommends.

The advice from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) says around two million people are drinking at levels which put them at risk of potentially fatal disease.

GPs are being told that men who drink three pints of beer a night, and women consuming half a bottle of wine nightly are among those who should be sent for scans to check for scarring, also known as cirrhosis of the liver.

The guidance says men drinking more than 50 units of alcohol a week - 22 pints of regular beer, or about 17 pints of high-strength lager - should be offered the scans, which also check for scarring.

GPs have also been told to target women drinking more than 35 units per week - which means two 175ml glasses of wine a night, or three-and-a-half bottles of wine over a week.

Government advice recommends a limit of 14 units a week for men and women - which amounts to seven 175ml glasses of wine a week. Watchdogs said early diagnosis of liver scarring would ensure patients receive treatment and support to manage their condition.

In the past, diagnosing cirrhosis meant liver biopsies, but advances in testing mean it can be tested much more easily, experts advised.

Health consultant Dr Andrew Fowell said: "Identifying people who are at risk of liver disease and offering them non-invasive testing to diagnose cirrhosis is key to ensuring they are given the treatment and support they need early enough to prevent serious complications.

"Ten years ago diagnosis of cirrhosis would often require a liver biopsy, but now with advances in non-invasive testing it is much easier for patients and health professionals to make a diagnosis." (©Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

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