One in five adults in the North East could have undiagnosed liver disease, the British Liver Trust’s Love Your Liver mobile screening and scanning unit found after visiting the region in September.
The charity visited Newcastle, Sunderland, Hartlepool and Middlesborough, and scanned passers-by who were interested in finding out more about their liver health. Of the 183 people scanned, 35 were sent to their doctor for further tests.
Liver disease is a leading cause of death in England and Wales, with over 40 people dying from the disease every day. Hospital admission rates for liver disease in the North East are above the average in England and are rising steadily.. The increase is caused mainly by the rise in people who are overweight and the numbers of people who are drinking too much alcohol.
Pamela Healy, Chief Executive, British Liver Trust, said, “One in five of us are at risk of liver disease and the numbers of people being diagnosed have been increasing at an alarming rate. Liver damage develops silently with no signs or symptoms and people often don’t realise they have a problem until it is too late. Although the liver is remarkably resilient, if left until symptoms appear, the damage is often irreversible."
The British Liver Trust’s Love Your Liver campaign focuses on three simple steps to reduce your risk of liver disease:
- Drink within recommended limits and have three consecutive days off alcohol every week
- Eat a healthy diet and take more exercise
- Know the risk factors for viral hepatitis and get tested or vaccinated if at risk
If you are worried that you may be at risk, the British Liver Trust has an online screener, a simple quiz, where you can find out more.