16 May 2011

Liver and Bacon

I don't know if anyone saw this story in the press last week, but it jumped out at me. A study by the British Liver Trust says that Britain is on course to be the European capital of liver disease because of the twin effects of alcohol and obesity. Our death rate from liver disease already exceeds that of France, Italy and Spain and will soon soar past Germany's. Britons are also dying a lot younger from liver diseases than they were 20 years ago, the average age being 59 compared with 79 from heart disease. Of course in my own experience, Greg died of liver disease and was 60, so no surprises there.

What is perhaps surprising is that the study suggests that obesity will be the main cause of liver disease in this country overtaking alcohol. Furthermore, we are the only major European country where deaths from liver disease are on the rise. Another statistic is that liver disease is the biggest cause of premature death for women and second only to heart attacks for men. A sobering thought (pardon the pun).

I am not a teetotaller. I enjoy the occasional drink as much as the next person, but I have never seen the sense in getting so hammered I am not in control of my actions or cannot remember what I did. I also enjoy my food but try to eat a balanced diet (no, not a bar of chocolate in each hand, silly) with the very occasional temptation of something oozing in pastry, sugar and cream. My Dad used to have a saying that all the best things in life were either illegal, immoral or fattening. True to a certain extent, but we owe it to ourselves to look after our bodies as best we can - life is not a rehearsal. I do so worry about what the young generation are doing to themselves (and of course the strain it will inevitably put on the NHS).

Thanks to our recent Labour government, the licensing laws were relaxed along the lines that if they can control their drinking in mainland Europe, then they can here. Sadly that has not been the case. Pubs now stay open a lot longer than ever before and young people barely out of nappies spill out of clubs and discos at 4 or 5 in the morning hardly able to stand, throwing up on the pavement or on some unsuspecting taxidriver's back seat. Alcohol can now be bought round the clock from supermarkets and petrol stations, as opposed to from off-licences which once upon a time used to only stay open for a few hours in the evening. Youngsters, determined to have a good time and get so plastered they cannot remember what they did the next day, will buy a bottle of spirits to drink at home before they go out, as it is cheaper than buying it once they are out at pubs and clubs. This new generation will graduate to supply the next lot of frightening statistics unless something is done to reverse the trend.

Thanks also to junk food, the post-war generation who sadly often have no idea what a vegetable looks like, are becoming exceedingly overweight. I only have to wander through my local shopping precinct to see bottoms as wide as barn doors (usually stuffed into too small leggings) and with various undulating rings of fat around their middles. The only exercise they get is moving their thumbs deftly over their mobile phone keypads. They often tend to push prams and drag small children behind them who themselves border on the size of miniature sumo wrestlers. Restaurant chains spring up in the high street based on American models with deep-fried salmonella and fries which seems to lure these youngsters in, as if hypnotised. I'm beginning to sound like a sad old crone (which I probably am) but it is worrying to think where it will all end. For all the bad publicity that alcohol and obesity gets, nobody seems to be doing anything productive about it except perhaps Jamie Oliver who at least is trying to make a stand and be a good role model......hopefully other leading celebrities and politicians will also see the light and do something positive to help arrest the trend.

Meanwhile Miss Goody Two-Shoes is off to make a salad and a glass of orange (Chateau Robinsons Low-Sugar) for her supper. Bye!


DogLover said...

Sensible comments. It's amazing how fat some people are and one wonders what goes through their minds. They must know the dangers by now - there are enough warnings in the papers and on radio and television. I always visualise the slim skeletons inside these huge beings!

OK, Addy, what's your cholesterol reading nowadays?

Anonymous said...

Hi Addy,

It is scary. I think the difference between us and the continentals is education at home where both diet and alcohol are concerned. Well certainly up here anyway in the central belt of Scotland.

I was watching a program today about diet and this new suggestion that restaurants should serve free salad. The general concensus was that everything in moderation, bit of exercise too. Same with alcohol. As you said there is nothing wrong with it in moderation. Personally I don't envy Teetotallers. I like a drink now and again but like yourself just enough when I do. And I think the problems all lie beyond that when people have to keep going.

Anyway, the stats are frightening but no surprise. This country seems to be falling into a depression with the current state of affairs and I can only imagine that will go hand in hand with an increase in alcohol abuse unfortunately keeping those figures on the rise.

All the best


Furtheron said...

I know of people in their 20s and 30s now with serious liver problems. Now - I'm an alcoholic and I drank like a fish. However most of my drinking was done alone because it was about escaping etc. The new(er) binging culture with the youngsters really does concern me, it is like a large chunk of a whole generation is trying kill themselves off early in some bizarre pact.

I don't know what the fix is. The British getting tanked up culture has gone bonkers

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

Doglover - I'll let you know next week. I succumbed to the dreaded statins about a year ago and have had no need for further testing since but had to have a blood test this week. I suspect the statins are keeping the levels down.

Nota Bene said...

Sadly Blair's social experiment has gone badly wrong...as a population we're not grown up enough to feed and drink properly...how sad is that? Could it be because more and more the Government wants to control our lives and that destroys and sense of self-responsibility?

Flowerpot said...

I agree it is scary - there are so mamy people round here with obvious weight and alcohol issues and that can't be good for their hearts or anything.

Eliza said...

I rarely have a drink now, but I'm afraid the weight has been creeping up on me, I need to get a grip, quickly. Good post.

Eleven's Ink said...

I must agree that my generation is one of binging. We have this idea that because we study hard/work hard we can equally play hard. The problem is not the drinking and the fast food, it's the dosage. Anything in bad dosage can be hurtful to your body. All about balance and equality. Great Post!! In Canada, the problem isn't so big as the UK and the USA but it's getting there, sadly.



It is amazing to think of the vast misconceptions the world has about abusing alcohol. Thanks for the great article that brings those misconceptions to light. Soberinfo.com is a great resource for news articles and blogs that brings awareness of these types of issues to the world. Check it out if you are interested.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

We will probably never adopt European drinking habits - it is bred of ages.

We have readily adapted to US eating habits - more fuel to the fire of liver disease.

Anna :o]

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