Liver Disease Crisis
Liver disease is on the rise. Since 1970, deaths due to liver disease have increased by 400%. Every day, over 40 people die from liver disease in the UK. This is in stark contrast to other major killer diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, in which the number of deaths have either remained stable or decreased. Shockingly, liver disease is the biggest cause of death in those aged between 35-49 years old.
- Liver disease is the third leading cause of premature death in the UK
- 90% of liver disease is preventable
- Three quarters of people are currently diagnosed at a late stage when it is too late for lifestyle changes or intervention
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Liver disease is a major healthcare crisis that we must all do something about.
- Only 5% of British adults say their liver would be of ‘great concern’ if they discovered they had a problem with it (versus 72% for a heart problem).
- 94% of British adults associate alcohol with liver disease and people with liver disease often feel stigmatised. There are many causes of liver disease and one in five adults drink in a way that could cause their liver harm.
- Most people with liver disease die aged between 18 to 65 years. This makes liver disease the third biggest cause of premature death in working age, with 62,000 years of working life lost every year.
- 90% of liver disease in the UK is due to alcohol, obesity and viral hepatitis and is therefore preventable.
- Around 1000 liver transplants are performed each year. There are 350 people on the liver transplant list at any one time.
- Alcohol-related liver disease accounts for 60% of all liver disease
- Around 7700 people die from alcohol-related liver disease each year
- People who live in more deprived areas are up to six times more likely to die from alcohol-related liver disease than those who live in wealthier areas
- Alcohol costs the NHS £3.5bn every
year and £7.3bn in lost productivity
- 94% of British adults associate alcohol with liver disease and people with liver disease often feel stigmatised. There are many causes of liver disease and one in five adults drink in a way that could cause their liver harm
- 90% of liver disease in the UK
is due to alcohol, obesity and
viral hepatitis and is therefore
- 180,000 people are chronically infected with hepatitis B and 215,000 are estimated to carry the hepatitis C virus.
- Between 40-50% of those with viral hepatitis are thought to be undiagnosed. 90% of hepatitis
C cases are linked to drug misuse.
Fatty Liver Disease – NAFLD
- 63% of UK adults are now classed as obese and overweight, and it’s estimated that 1 in 3 have early-stage non-alcohol related fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Despite there being good evidence to show that losing 10% of body weight improves liver function in those with
NAFLD/NASH, there is a reluctance
amongst some GPs to discuss weight
with their patients
- Experts predict that over the next decade, NAFLD will become the leading cause of endstage liver disease and liver transplantation
- 5% of adults in the UK have NASH, which is the more advanced form of NAFLD where the liver already has some scarring
- There are around 6000 cases of primary liver cancer diagnosed each year – around 16 people per day. The vast majority of these people will have underlying advanced liver disease
- Liver cancer is the fastest rising
cause of cancer death in the UK
- Only 12% of people diagnosed with
primary liver cancer survive for more
than five years
- Cases of primary liver cancer, the most common of which is hepatocellular carcinoma, have risen by almost two-thirds (63%) over the last decade, making it the ninth most common cause of cancer deaths
The Full Report
- Liver disease is expected to overtake heart disease as the biggest cause of premature death in the next few years.
- Over the past decade, liver cancer has increased by almost two-thirds (63%) in the UK.
- People who live in more deprived areas are up to six times more likely to die from alcohol-related liver disease than those who live in wealthier areas.
- It’s estimated that 1 in 3 people have early-stage non-alcohol related fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and that 20% of these will go on to develop the more serious form which can lead to cirrhosis