‘What’s Up Doc’ is a health column in association with The Crawley Observer, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions regarding general health and wellbeing.
Answers are provided weekly from our specialist consultants at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Surrey. If it’s a long-standing illness or simply a worry which you would like to get off your mind then we would like to help.
This question appeared in The Crawley Observer on Wednesday, to readers across Surrey and Sussex. The question and answer is below, as it appeared in the newspaper.
Read the response by Dr Jonathan Stenner, consultant gastroenterologist:
Dr Stenner's consultant profile
I'm 29 year old female whom drinks every Friday and Saturday. Mostly beer and liquor on the odd occasions, if there’s a celebration. I do not drink during the week and I don't consider myself a heavy drinker. The last couple of months since I’ve been around a lady that has cirrhosis of the liver, I’ve started to become very worried as I think I’ve got some sort of liver disease . What are the symptoms and stages? How I can get this sorted? Hope you can help and guide me in the right direction. Thanks, Liz, Uckfield.
Dear Liz, thank you for your question as it does raise some important points. Firstly the early symptoms of liver disease can be very non-specific ( e.g. fatigue) until there is really quite advanced damage ( jaundice, bruising, confusion) and so prevention is definitely better than cure.
Your drinking habits do not sound excessive but there are good websites to help you determine if it is a problem (www.drinkaware.co.uk). Your GP can also be helpful as safe alcohol intake should be part of a healthy lifestyle plan. If there are still concerns then as a specialist I would be happy to do a full assessment and give advice as alcohol is not the only cause of cirrhosis.