As over-the-counter antibiotic use has increased owing to easy access and fear during the pandemic, experts worry about the long-term impact of this overuse. “While the liver cannot be affected by antibiotic unless it is prolonged use, it can cause related issues. Over the past year alone, I have seen a 50 per cent increase in cases with antimicrobial resistance, which can cause problems in treatment and immunity. It can cause related issues like jaundice and cirrhosis,” said Dr Elan Kumaran, senior consultant, Liver Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery, Kauvery Hosptials.
Doctors explain that this is a condition that has been fuelled by the pandemic but has been prevalent in the city over the past five years. Experts state that the true impact of this increase antibiotic use will be seen in the years to come.
Sedentary lifestyle during the pandemic has also led to an increase in cases of fatty liver disease, which may or may not be related to alcohol intake, said experts, noting that while cases in the city have been increasing over the last many years, the pandemic has increased the numbers significantly.
“Over the past year, I have seen a significant increase in fatty liver disease. From a 15-20 per cent prevalence, there is now a 70 per cent prevalence, especially among those with diabetes and obesity, which is when it becomes very dangerous. This needs a lifestyle change, which is difficult during the pandemic,” said Dr Joy Varghese, Gleneagles Global Health City.
Experts state that there needs to be a community-based approach to tackling these diseases, such as increased awareness of the ill effects of antibiotics and the needs for healthier lifestyles among the general public.