Australian’s have always had a strong drinking culture, whether it’s a cold one over a footy game or a glass with the Sunday roast. However, binge drinking liver damage is on the increase and something we can’t turn a blind eye to, regardless of how young you are.
What is binge drinking?
Binge drinking can ultimately be defined as the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol within a short period of time or in one sitting. More specifically, for women, any more than four standard drinks in one sitting is considered to be binge drinking. For men, any more than six drinks in one sitting is classed as binge drinking.
Who is at risk?
People aged 18 to 24 are most likely to report risky drinking behavior, according to recent research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. However, that doesn’t mean that others aren’t at risk, anyone who binge drinks is at risk of some form of liver damage or disease.
What is binge drinking liver damage?
In short, when a person binge drinks or drinks excessively over a period of time their liver starts to replace its own healthy tissue with scar tissue. As this process progresses over time the liver loses its ability to properly function. Liver damage can include but is not limited to, steatosis (fatty liver disease), fibrosis (liver stiffness /scarring), cirrhosis (process of the scaring of liver tissue), and alcohol hepatitis (inflamed liver).
What are the symptoms of alcohol liver damage?
Early symptoms include things such as; tiredness, abdominal pain, feeling ill and loss of appetite, fatigue or even diarrhea. Advanced symptoms of alcohol liver damage however, are more identifiable; jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eye), dark urine, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, pain in the upper right side and an increased sensitivity to alcohol and drugs (as the liver is not functioning properly and is unable to process them).
What can I do to confirm if I have alcohol liver damage?
If you notice any symptoms of alcohol liver damage that tie in with your tendency to binge drink, it is recommended that you see your doctor. Your doctor may recommend that you have alcohol liver functioning tests such as a LiverScan.
What is a FibroScan?
A FibroScan® is a pain free, non-invasive procedure used to measure the scar tissue in the liver and fatty change (Steatosis). The results are immediate and can help doctors decide whether treatment is required and if so what treatment is best. Moonee Valley Specialist Centre is the only private practice in Victoria to have a FibroScan® 502 Touch device. To find out more information or book an appointment with liver specialist Dr. Nathan Connelly, please contact us on 03 9372 0372.