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Cases of liver disease have increased by 30 per cent since the first lockdown

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Cases of liver disease have increased by 30 per cent since the first lockdown

Amongst all the fun and games of our newfound freedom, we know it can be painful to cast your mind back to the dark days of lockdowns past. Remember that Zoom quiz you spent hours making? Remember learning the Savage TikTok dance? Remember cracking a can in the solitude of your bedroom for your friend's 'birthday party'.

Dark, dark times, there's no denying it, but at least they are behind us. However, it seems our drinking habits during this era may have had more of a lasting effect than we anticipated as, according to research by Beaumont Hospital, there has been a massive 30 per cent increase in cases of liver disease that the hospital suspects is linked to binge drinking during lockdown.

Professor John Ryan at Beaumont says that similar figures can be found in many other hospitals around the country.

"[Liver disease] a silent killer. The majority will not even know they have the condition," Ryan said.

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Ryan says the issue with lockdown drinking is that 'there are no opening or closing hours at home, so it is a perfect storm and that is what we are seeing now.'

He said: "Everyone knew about the apprehension at the start of lockdown and lots of people took to drinking maybe a glass of wine a day.

"That then turns into half a bottle or maybe a bottle a day and very quickly you are kind of medicating your anxiety.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash
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"People lost people and there were so many reasons to drink perhaps. We saw the bottle banks overflowing."

Ryan warned that nearly half of people who have cirrhosis of the liver due to excessive drinking could return entirely normal test results through their GP.

"Results are often normal until you fall off your perch or the edge, where you become yellow in the eyes or jaundiced.

"Where you have fluid in the belly or internal haemorrhaging. There are quite extreme complications and that is how patients with liver problems present and the associated mortality is very high.

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"That is the problem. People will drink away not really know what is going on internally until it is quite advanced."

Earlier this year the government announced plans to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol, starting from January 2022. We hate to say it but it sounds, as much as we love a pint, like they may have had a point after all...

Featured Image Credit: Content Pixie on Unsplash

Topics: Ireland

Gary Grimes
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