Gastroenterologist Dr Alison Brind has spoken about her experiences treating young patients for alcohol-related diseases. Dr Brind, who works at royal Stoke University Hospital, says she has seen parents and their children being treated on the ward at the same time. One in 100 people were admitted to hospital due to either illness or injury caused by alcohol (Public Health England figures).
Dr Brind said: "Alcohol is a big problem. We have had mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, together on the wards at the same time because of it. That must be awful to know that your behaviour has led to your child being ill as well. A lot of drinking is due to desperation – people have sad, grey lives and they can't see a future. Alcohol is their anaesthetic.
"It is always the most severe in the youngest patients, people with no other illnesses. Liver disease devastates people's lives. Apart from dying early, a lot of people can't work, they find it difficult to walk and look after their families. They have frequent admissions to hospital. They might start to vomit blood, or have fluid on their stomach. It is an awful illness. People lose interest in life, they lose muscle and suffer loss of appetite.
"We also get quite a lot of alcohol-related brain injuries. Alcohol kills brain cells over time – it is as simple as that. That is very difficult to manage. They are generally under the age of 65 and don't qualify for elderly care services.
"Alcohol is a poison in other ways, it can give you early dementia, it increases the risk of getting cancer. But it is difficult to say people are being naughty – they are addicted. With alcohol, the culture is that 'more is better'. We have got to change that behaviour. If you like alcohol enjoy it, but keep your intake low, so it doesn't poison you. There has got to be a change in culture.
Latest advice is that men and women who drink regularly should not consume more than 14 units a week, which is the equivalent of up to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine. Pregnant women should not drink at all.
Anyone wanting help to quit drinking can contact Stoke Recovery Service on 01782 956119, or contact Stoke Community Drug and Alcohol Service on 01782 283113.
Dr Brind is also running the London Marathon to raise awareness
I am looking to run Stafford Half Marathon, London Marathon and the Potteries Alf Marathon to raise awareness of Liver disease in North Midlands. 1000 people per year die of liver disease in our region each year. About 1000 per 100,000 years lost under 75 years are related to alcohol related liver disease. Many of these deaths could be avoided by lifestyle changes and treatment of viral hepatitis.
The British Liver Trust are coming to Hanley with their Roadshow to offer advice about liver health in October. Inside, members of the public will complete an online liver health screener and they will be offered a scan to check Liver Health.
In addition I wish to support the nurses at UHNM with training courses - on the Stoke and County sites who care for patients with Liver disease. Particularly the Liver, hepatitis, ward and alcohol liaison nurses.
If you would like to sponsor Dr Brind please click here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/alisonbrind1