‘45 percent of Kerala drinkers face liver disease threat’

August 11th, 2011 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 11 (IANS) With liquor consumption reaching an all-time high in Kerala, up to 45 percent of the regular drinkers face the risk of ending up with some liver disease, an expert said Thursday.

Revealing that at least three new patients suffering alcohol-related liver disease come to him every day, Dr D.Jayakumar of the NIMS Hospital said: “The sad part is that in a few years time from now, those carrying an alcohol related liver disease in the age group 37 to 45 in the state will go up drastically, given the present trend.”

“This could entail 30 to 45 percent of drinkers in Kerala,” he added, while announcing the setting up of the first ever fibro scan - a machine to scan for liver diseases - at the hospital.

“Seeing the spurt in alcohol-related liver disease of patients, we are getting ready to conduct a detailed study and the pilot study would be done very soon,” said Jayakumar, who has been trained at the Queen’s Hospital in London.

In the last fiscal 2010-11, liquor sales in the state touched an all-time high at Rs.6,730.30 crore, up from Rs.5,539.85 crore in 2009-10.

Currently, there are 683 bars in the state and 383 state owned shops that sell liquor in the retail market.

NIMS will be the eighth hospital in India, and the first in South India, to have the state of the art fibro machine.

“The new machine will identify liver ailments in less than five minutes and it is a non-invasive mechanism (not requiring surgery) unlike the standard liver biopsy test which is an invasive process. This new scan will cost Rs.4,500 per patient, which is cheaper than the conventional liver biopsy test,” added Jayakumar.

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