Women at Spe­cial Risk

North & South - - Essay -

While it’s usu­ally men who suf­fer from too much drink­ing long-term, women need to be care­ful too. “Small fe­males can be af­fected much faster than larger-framed males,” says Auck­land-based spe­cial­ist gas­troen­terol­o­gist Dr Ali Jafer, who is ap­palled by how the rise of sweet, in­tox­i­cat­ing RTDS (ready-to- drink bev­er­ages) has made drink­ing eas­ier and more ap­peal­ing to teenagers.

“They’ve been an ab­so­lute dis­as­ter. It has nor­malised al­co­hol for young peo­ple. Peo­ple jump up and down about syn­thetic mar­i­juana, but RTDS are no dif­fer­ent. I’ve never tasted one in my life, but I know how much kids are drink­ing them be­cause you see them in the emer­gency de­part­ment.”

Jafer has also seen peo­ple in their 40s re­ceive liver trans­plants be­cause their own has been wrecked by al­co­hol. “I’ve looked af­ter women with cir­rho­sis in their mid-30s – but re­mem­ber, it de­pends on how much you’ve had and how early you started. If a girl starts drink­ing at 15, then 10 years might be enough to cause per­ma­nent liver dam­age.”

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