Expert says alcoholism causes liver cirrhosis

Dr Pokop Bupwatda, a Consultant Physician, Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), has identified excessive drinking of alcohol as the major cause of increased rate of liver cirrhosis detected among youths in the country.

Bupwatada, who is also the Plateau Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), made this known on Monday in Jos. He said that many youths in the state died from liver cirrhosis.

“The youths are into excessive drinking, not just alcohol, they now take `gokosolo’; it is a liquor that is concocted with a lot of harmful substances to the body. “There is a culture of drinking in the state, especially by the indigenes. “There is a local brew called `burukutu’ and it also has a lot of health implications which they are not aware of; they think it is life since some of them have grown up with; it is like a social behaviour.

“Unfortunately they do not know the health implications which we are trying to bring to the fore; we have liver cirrhosis induced by chronic intake of alcohol, it causes liver disease which they do not know its dreadful effect,” he said.

He defined liver cirrhosis as a condition associated with excessive drinking in which there is an abnormal formation of the connective tissue and a wasting of the tissue of the liver. According to him, excessive drinking of alcohol can also lead to heart disease, and that there is a study that says that alcohol is good for the heart but not an abuse of it.

He pointed out that an illicit alcoholic drink called `gosokolo’ can damage the intestines, saying that is why the consumers pass excreta with blood or dark stools. “The act of taking ‘gosokolo’ can be likened to pouring of acid to the skin, which causes great damage to the intestinal walls and the liver and eventually leads to death,” he warned. He said that the other adverse effect of excessive drinking was that some of them could develop depression and mental disorder or illness.

Bupwatada said the state chapter of the NMA, in collaboration with the Nigerian Union of Journalists and traditional rulers, had begun sensitisation on the ills of excessive drinking of alcohol. He advised the public, especially youths, to avoid alcoholic drinks as the effects are adverse. However, the consultant physician said that the youth who are addicted to drinking alcohol can be rehabilitated.

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