Alcoholic liver disease - The extent of the problem and what you can do about it

Simon Hazeldine, Theresa Hydes, Nick Sheron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


It takes upwards of ten years for alcohol-related liver disease to progress from fatty liver through fibrosis to cirrhosis to acute on chronic liver failure. This process is silent and symptom free and can easily be missed in primary care, usually presenting with advanced cirrhosis. At this late stage, management consists of expert supportive care, with prompt identification and treatment of bleeding, sepsis and renal problems, as well as support to change behaviour and stop harmful alcohol consumption. There are opportunities to improve care by bringing liver care everywhere up to the standards of the best liver units, as detailed in the Lancet Commission report. We also need a fundamental rethink of the technologies and approaches used in primary care to detect and intervene in liver disease at a much earlier stage. However, the most effective and cost-effective measure would be a proper evidence-based alcohol strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-185
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Medicine, Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Royal College of Physicians 2015. All rights reserved.


  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol policy
  • Cirrhosis
  • Early detection
  • Lancet Commission
  • Liver
  • Minimum unit price


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