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.

6 thoughts on “Liver disease kills”

  1. Okay. My doc did a stack of tests as well as re-testing my cholesterol (now down to 5.0). Thyroid is fine, not anaemic, not infected with Helicobacter pylori, not coeliac. The dodgy GGT level was down from 102 to 77 after three weeks with not a drop of grape nor grain…

  2. I have a small puncture wound in the crook of my elbow following this morning’s blood letting. The practice nurse tough enough for eight blood tests including the follow up for my total cholesterol, GGT, and several others, including tyhroid, sed test and one for anaemia. What was that you were saying about the “worried well”?

  3. It may be that restricting polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) consumption and increasing saturated fat intake can furnish protection from fatty liver disease.

    “Alzheimer’s disease, retinal degeneration, cataracts, and liver cirrhosis all involve reactions of oxidized PUFA with proteins. Saturated fats help to heal alcoholic liver cirrhosis.”

    How to Fatten Your Liver
    “Steatohepatitis is a condition in which the liver becomes inflamed and accumulates fat. It was formerly found almost exclusively in alcoholics. In the 1980s, a new condition was described called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), basically steatohepatitis without the alcoholism. Today, NASH is thought to affect more than 2% of the adult American population. The liver has many important functions. It’s not an organ you want to break…Corn oil is one of the worst vegetable oils. You’ve eaten corn so you know it’s not an oily seed. To concentrate the oil and make it palatable, manufacturers use organic solvents, high heat, and several rounds of chemical treatment. It’s also extremely rich in n-6 linoleic acid. The consumption of corn oil and other n-6 rich oils has risen dramatically in the US in the last 30 years, making them prime suspects in NASH. They have replaced the natural (more saturated) fats we once got from meat and milk. ”

    Fatty Liver Reversal
    “On April 15th, I received an e-mail from a reader who I’ll call Sam. Sam told me that he had elevated levels of the liver enzyme ALT (alanine transaminase) in his blood, which indicates liver damage. ALT is an enzyme contained in liver cells that’s released into the bloodstream when they rupture. Sam also had fatty liver confirmed by biopsy…The quality of fat you eat has a very large influence on health, and especially on the liver. Excess omega-6 is damaging to the liver. This type of fat is found primarily in refined seed oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, and safflower oil… Sugar is also a primary contributor to fatty liver. Reducing your sugar intake will go a long way toward reversing it.”

  4. NHS Choices, which usually shreds bad science in health and medical news reporting has simply regurgitated “the facts” regarding the liver report:

    Very frustrating, I wanted them to point out the flaws in the research and to highlight its limitations and to show where the tabloids got it wrong, which is what it usually does. But, as I said, there was a government agenda behind this and they were obviously directed from above in this case.

  5. An Australian friend just lamented that he was hoping to buy me a beer should I ever visit and now he’s thinking it would have to be a soda or a coffee…but, assuming my test results are more (less?) positive next week I should be off the hepatical sabbatical. So…keep those two tinnies cool Curl, keep those two tinnies cool ;-)

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