Liver disease kills

UPDATE: 2012-03-26 Two weeks off the pop. Follow-up blood test on Thursday. Given that the half-life of GGT is 14-21 days or thereabouts, I am assuming that if my serum level of this enzyme has halved by Thursday from the value that was recorded at the Fenland Study, that the wee spike was essentially down to alcohol consumption the few days before that blood sample was taken rather than something like gallstones, liver disease or a muscle injury (any one of which can raise GGT levels, none of which I believe I had at the time).

Given my slightly worrying feedback from the Fenland Study, my neurotic brain latched on to the headlines today in which male 40-somethings seem to be dropping like flies, jaundiced and with failed livers.

The BBC reports: “Deaths from liver disease in England have reached record levels, rising by 25% in less than a decade, according to new NHS figures. The reports say that heavy drinking, obesity and hepatitis are to blame, with 37% of deaths due to alcohol abuse. Obesity is apparently on the rise, but why are liver problems due to hepatitis on the rise too?

Now, cutting back on fats, sugars, alcohols are probably a good idea for most people who indulge, but is it just a little bit of a coincidence that this report appears ahead of the government announcing a review of alcohol use, laws? Oh and that controversial issue of minimum pricing on booze that could rapidly net the government a few extra pounds to help it address the national debt and ultimately reduce NHS costs? As if politicians would care about our health…

Just for the record, I had a slightly higher than normal serum concentration of the liver enzyme GGT (gamma-glutamyltransferase) in my data back, which was flagged for referral from the Fenland team. Other readings were fine and my GP reckons it could easily be a blip and suggested cutting down on the sherberts and shandies a smidgeon.

BBC News – Liver disease deaths reach record levels in England.

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