Liver disease: NHS Doctor talks about link with alcohol
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Over the years, the blind musician, who had worked with the legends Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin, made a name for himself as a genre-defining musician. Charles shared his incredible talent with the world from the 1940s through to the 2000s until it was reported that the star had passed away aged 73.
Charles overcame many challenges in his life, including blindness and a heroin addiction.
When he grew up, Charles contracted a disease that made him go blind within three years.
According to The Ray Charles Foundation, the disease was glaucoma, a condition where the optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain becomes damaged.
Despite his illness, while he was at school in Florida, Charles’ artistic prowess shined through as he learned to read braille, listen to radios and play the piano, the clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, and organ.
He also became hooked on heroin from the age of 18 and was arrested in 1965 for possession but left music for a year to free himself from the bad habit.
But he came back ready to continue his work and kept performing until the 2000s.
But in the end, Ray Charles passed away after an illness made him cancel several appearances in 2004, NPR reported.
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Liver disease explained
There is more than one type of liver disease – some of which can be prevented by limiting alcohol intake.
One type of liver disease is hepatitis.
Hepatitis can be caused by a viral infection or induced by alcohol consumption.
The most common types of liver infection are hepatitis A, B, and C. Hepatitis generally describes inflammation of the liver.
Some cases of hepatitis, such as severe hepatitis C can cause serious damage to the liver and be life-threatening.
Alcoholic hepatitis is a common condition in the UK, according to the NHS.
The condition doesn’t normally cause symptoms but it can result in sudden liver failure.
Giving the liver rest by stopping drinking can help the liver recover but there’s a chance of developing cirrhosis – scarring of the liver.
Cirrhosis is an irreversible condition when the liver has developed major scarring
People who have cirrhosis and don’t stop drinking have less than 50 percent chance of living for five years or over, the NHS explains.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease
Before developing hepatitis and cirrhosis, people may have a reversible condition known as a fatty liver disease – when fats build up in the liver.
Even a few days of consumption can result in the build-up of these fats as alcohol changes the chemical processes in the liver. The different substances produced can combine with fatty acids to create fats that collect in the liver.
Going sober for two weeks can reverse the damage of alcoholic fatty liver disease.
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