HEALTH MAT­TERS

Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

DR Ian Hulme is GP with Mead­ow­side Med­i­cal Cen­tre, Con­gle­ton and clin­i­cal lead on sub­stance mis­use for NHS East­ern Cheshire CCG.

I’m sure many of us drank more al­co­hol than we nor­mally would over the Christ­mas and New Year pe­riod, but now Jan­uary is upon us and we’re all left won­der­ing what dam­age we’ve done to our liv­ers, and in some cases our dig­nity! But the good news is that it’s pos­si­ble to knock our liv­ers back into shape quickly by tak­ing three sim­ple steps:

●● Keep off al­co­hol for two or three days in a row ●● Take more ex­er­cise and stay fit ●● Cut down on sugar and fat

And there is mo­ti­va­tion at hand in the New Year for any­one need­ing a nudge in the right di­rec­tion af­ter the sea­sonal cel­e­bra­tions in the form of Dry Jan­uary.

Dry Jan­uary is a fundraiser or­gan­ised by Al­co­hol Con­cern – a na­tional char­ity ded­i­cated to chang­ing the UK’s drink­ing cul­ture. It’s a great way of giv­ing your liver a break af­ter the Christ­mas fes­tiv­i­ties, while es­tab­lish­ing a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude to­wards al­co­hol and rais­ing money for char­ity.

And whether you’re tak­ing a month-long break from booze or just cut­ting back, it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing that not drink­ing for two or three days run­ning gives the liver time to re­cover.

Pro­vid­ing the liver has no last­ing dam­age, it can take as lit­tle as 24 hours to go back to nor­mal. How­ever, if al­co­hol is used ir­re­spon­si­bly it can have se­ri­ous con­se­quences for our health, and for the NHS.

Emer­gency ad­mis­sions be­tween Novem­ber 2014 and Oc­to­ber 2015 from Knutsford pa­tients trans­ferred to hos­pi­tal from A&E with liver dis­ease cost the NHS nearly £130,000.

While I would never want to preach, I would strongly en­cour­age the adop­tion of pos­i­tive habits which will have long-term ben­e­fits for your health.

And it’s not just about cut­ting down on the booze – eat­ing well and ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly will pre­vent peo­ple get­ting over­weight and de­vel­op­ing non-al­co­holic fatty liver dis­ease, as well as cut­ting down on daily food in­dul­gences and not over­load­ing on sug­ary drinks.

Visit al­co­hol­con­cern. org.uk/what-we-do/ cam­paigns/dry-jan­uary/ to find out more about how you can get in­volved.

●● Doc­tor Ian Hulme

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