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Fears as more women fall victim to alcohol

Doctors say they are treating “significantly” more women for alcohol-related health problems.

The number of women seen at Leicester’s hospitals for serious drink-related conditions has more than doubled since 2004.

But doctors fear many more women are gambling with their health by drinking more than they should.

Latest figures from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reveal that nationally one woman in six drinks more than double the recommended daily amount of three units.

The report by the social research charity shows that binge drinking among women has more than doubled in the past few years.

Dr Allister Grant, a consultant hepatologist at Leicester Royal Infirmary, said: “We are seeing significantly more women with alcohol problems – it is much more common than it used to be.

“I’m not sure it is only down to binge drinking – it is also due to more women drinking and not knowing the safe limits.

“It is much more socially acceptable for women to drink, but they do not tolerate alcohol as well as men.

“They just do not realise that they cannot drink at the same rate.”

In the past year, doctors at Leicester’s hospitals have seen 65 women with cirrhosis – where the liver deteriorates because of alcohol and gradually stops working – compared with 29 in 2004.

The total does not include people admitted to hospital with alcoholic hepatitis, which tends to kill younger alcoholics.

Doctors are also concerned by the soaring number of patients having to be urgently admitted to hospital with alcohol problem.

In the past year, Dr Grant and colleagues have treated 5,852 patients – 1,890 of them women – with conditions caused by the amount they drink. This compares with about 1,500 in 2004.

Dr Ffion Davies, a consultant in emergency medicine, has noticed a rise in the number of women needing treatment for injuries suffered because they had been drinking.

She said: “Younger females, who are part of the ladette culture, are coming in with alcohol-related injuries.

“Also, incidents tend to be weather-related as people socialise more when it’s warmer and the nights are lighter. They get a bit more carried away.

“We tend to see things like punches to the face and hand injuries from the person who carried out the punch.”

Priti Raichura, a public health specialist at primary care trust NHS Leicester City, said: “It is of great concern if people are drinking more.

“We have appointed a alcohol liaison nurse to work at Leicester Royal Infirmary to try to persuade people coming in to cut down.

“We are also running city centre campaigns on Friday and Saturday nights to make people more aware of how many units of alcohol they should stick to.

“We want to try and stop drinking becoming a habit as early as possible.”

source: This is Leicestershire

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