Liver disease: NHS Doctor talks about link with alcohol
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Liver disease can be broken down into several subtypes, but both the chronic and acute versions of the disease have been known to manifest on the skin. The cutaneous appearances may range from subtle to more obvious, depending on the stage of the disease. In the advanced stages, a skin condition may show up on the face which has been found to correlate with higher rates of liver cancer.
The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology explains that “rosacea, a common skin disease that affects middle-aged individuals, has […] been associated with underlying metabolic diseases”.
The health body explains that non-alcoholic fatty (NAFLD) disease alters the transcription of genes that control follicle differentiation.
Therefore, the “appearance of rosacea may be a readily visible biomarker of fatty liver,” explains the health body.
It continues: “The connection between rosacea and NAFLD may have important consequences in the midlife assessment of cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s risk.”
In 2017, a Danish study discovered that individuals with rosacea have a higher risk of liver cancer, skin cancer and breast cancer.
The results, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, were unable to prove a cause-and-effect association, meaning more research is warranted before any such conclusions can be made.
The study set out to investigate rosacea patients’ likelihood to be diagnosed with 13 different forms of cancer.
Researchers analysed five years of medical history for more than 50,000 patients and more than 4,000,000 control subjects.
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Results showed no increased risk of several cancers, including oesophageal, kidney, thyroid, pancreatic, and ovarian cancer.
What researchers did find, however, was a higher 42 percent higher risk of hepatic cancer among rosacea patients.
What’s more, the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer and breast cancer appeared to be 36 percent and 25 percent higher, respectively, among rosacea patients.
Interestingly, the data suggested that rosacea patients may have a 22 percent less risk of lung cancer compared to the general population.
Previous research by doctor Alexander Egeberg, who led the study, revealed a link between rosacea and a higher risk of death from liver disease and alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.
Rosacea is widely described as a long-lasting condition that causes inflammation and redness of the face.
The redness is usually concentrated in the cheeks and nose at first and gradually spreads to the forehead and chin.
According to Harvard Health, the condition tends to affect fair-skinned adults aged between 30 and 50 who have a history of blushing easily.
“Women develop rosacea more often than men, but men are more apt to develop lumps, enlarged noses, a condition called rhinophyma,” explained the health body.
Because the condition is easily confused with sunburn, it often goes undiagnosed and is widely overlooked by health practitioners.
Before concluding that a person’s rosacea is signalling liver disease, it may be worth looking out for other key markers of fatty liver.
The most reliable symptoms of the condition include abdominal pain, nausea, yellowing of the skin, and swelling of the abdomen and lower extremities.
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