LIFESTYLE

Non-Alcoholics Who Drink Daily Need To Give Their Liver A Rest, Warn Health Experts

10/12/2014 14:06 GMT | Updated 10/12/2014 14:59 GMT

Many people enjoy a tipple after work. The reality is that half of that bottle of wine or those few bottles of beer, which seem harmless enough, could actually be causing more damage than good.

While it might help you to unwind, your daily alcohol consumption could be playing havoc with your liver - with life-threatening results.

"The majority of people who die of alcohol-related liver disease are not alcoholics," Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust told the Daily Mail.

He added that over the past decade there's been a 25% rise in alcohol-related liver disease deaths.

wine

"At the moment liver disease is the 5th biggest killer in the UK," Langford said. "If we don't do anything about it by 2025 it will almost certainly be one of the top two, it is a major epidemic."

Alcohol causes damage to the cells in your liver, which can lead to inflammation and scarring as it tries to repair itself.

Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, chief medical officer for Bupa, explains to HuffPost Lifestyle that the liver can only handle so much alcohol at a time. "If you don’t give it time to recover and continue to drink alcohol regularly, your liver won’t be able to cope," he adds.

“Even though you might think you’re not drinking too much – several glasses of wine a night is going to increase your risk of liver disease."

SEE ALSO:

We Need to do Better on Liver Disease

A Glass Of Wine Is Equivalent To Downing Three Shots Of Vodka, Warns Health Expert

This ability to knock back a fair few beverages without getting drunk is referred to by medical experts as ‘hazardous drinking’.

It means that a person regularly drinks over the recommended safety limits but no major alcohol-related problems have occurred as of yet.

Dr Nitin Shori, Medical Director of the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service and a working NHS GP, says that "frequently drinking too much raises the likelihood of developing certain health conditions including some types of cancers."

LIKE HUFFPOST UK LIFESTYLE ON FACEBOOK | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER | WE'RE ALSO ON INSTAGRAM

But how can we remedy this without becoming staunch non-drinkers?

Langford suggests that if you drink every evening you should "take two to three consecutive days off every week to give your liver a chance to rejuvenate".

"The important word here is 'consecutive'," he adds. "Your liver needs at least 48 hours to start repairing itself."

Story continues below...

How To Keep Your Liver Healthy

Meanwhile Dr Shori tells HuffPost Lifestyle that it's best to avoid drinking every night and to keep an eye on the number of units you consume during the week.

He adds: "A large glass of wine for example, could actually exceed your recommended daily number of units if you’re female.”

Dr Zollinger-Read agrees: “Guidelines recommend not regularly drinking more than three or four units a day for men, and two or three units a day for women. Although ‘regularly’ means every day or most days of the week, it’s a good idea to have at least two alcohol-free days a week so you don’t go over the limits.

"Over a week, men shouldn’t have more than 21 units and women shouldn’t have more than 14 units.”

Want to test your liver health? Try the Love Your Liver Screener