Doctor Calling: Don’t let drink put dark cloud over Christmas - by Dr Kevin Hill

Dr Kevin Hill
Dr Kevin Hill
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Health commissioners are backing a national campaign to make people think about their alcohol consumption as the pre-Christmas party season is set to begin.

In 2013/14, there were an estimated 1,059,210 hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption in the UK. This year’s Alcohol Awareness week tooke place between November 16- 22 in an effort to raise awareness of alcohol issues and the impact it can have on the health of the population. NHS South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group supported local pharmacies and treatment service providers during this time, offering information and advice whilst raising awareness of the campaign.

You don’t have to be an alcoholic to risk damaging your health with alcohol.

Alcohol now costs the NHS £3.5bn per year; equal to £120 for every tax payer, and according to Alcohol Concern, one in eight NHS beds are used for alcohol-related illnesses.

The pre-Christmas party season can easily lead to binge drinking. You don’t have to be an alcoholic to risk damaging your health with alcohol.

Regularly drinking just above recommended levels can still be harmful in the long-term.

NHS recommendations for lower risk drinking state that men should not exceed 3-4 units a day on a regular basis and women should not exceed 2-3 units a day on a regular basis. Visit NHS Choices to download a drinks tracker that will calculate the units in your drinks and offer daily tips and feedback.

We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun but it is important to think about alcohol consumption and its potential long-term impact on health. If you are concerned about your drinking you can discuss it with your GP.

Those who exceed the national recommended limit for drinking may suffer symptoms such as fatigue or depression, weight gain or poor sleep and are statistically more likely to develop serious medical conditions such as liver problems, reduced fertility issues, high blood pressure, increased risk of various cancers and heart attacks.