You need to cut down your alcohol intake
AS A community we certainly seem to be more interested in what we eat than what we drink, but alcoholism and the health risks associated with it can be a problem for anyone. If your doctor has told you to cut back, it is likely the early liver changes caused by alcoholic liver disease have been picked up incidentally on a blood test. This is a common scenario and is often the motivation for people to reduce their alcohol consumption.
Alcoholic liver disease tends to be associated with quite non-specific symptoms that one may not even notice. In the initial stages there may be no symptoms at all. Vague abdominal pain can occur, normally on the right hand side, along with diarrhoea, loss of appetite and nausea.
If your GP has detected any of these symptoms over a significant period of time, they would test your liver function and pick up the changes.
The good news is that the first stages of liver disease are reversible, and that abstinence is the key. The later stage of liver disease is cirrhosis which is not reversible, even if you give up alcohol altogether.
The level at which liver disease can occur is 35 units of alcohol a week for women and 50 units a week for men. This would be classed as heavy drinking, well beyond the recommended weekly limit of 14 units for women, or 21 units for men. I say “can occur” because, amazingly, 30 per cent of heavy drinkers will have no liver changes at all. Having said that, 20 per cent will go on to develop irreversible cirrhosis, which leads to an early death.
A compelling reason to cut back.