The British Liver Trust’s ‘Love Your Liver’ Campaign is set to visit Dagenham on 18 November.
Barking and Dagenham is currently experiencing a year-on-year increase in the number of hospital admissions due to liver disease. Some 231 individuals required admission in 2014/15 alone; significantly more than the national average.
The British Liver Trust’s ‘Love Your Liver’ campaign is visiting the region to help raise awareness and improve early diagnosis.
The event is free to attend and will be at Dagenham Library, 1 Church Elm Lane RM10 9QS on Friday 18 November between 10am and 4pm. The Trust has partnered with Queen’s Hospital Romford, and Hepatology Nurse Specialists from Queen’s will be on hand to offer expert advice.
Local residents and workers can take part by completing the Trust’s online ‘At Risk’ screening questionnaire and everyone will receive expert advice on how to keep their liver healthy (www.loveyourliver.org.uk).
Along with receiving information and advice, those people who are found to actually be at risk of having poor liver health will also have the opportunity to receive a free, non-invasive liver scan.
As well as the increase in hospital admissions, liver disease resulted in 89 premature deaths in Barking and Dagenham in 2013-2015, of which a third were due to alcohol related liver disease. Ten percent were due to non-alcohol related fatty liver disease or to hepatitis B or C related end-stage liver disease or cancer.
70% of the adult population in the area are overweight. Along with alcohol, obesity is one of the leading reasons for the current nationwide increase in liver disease.
Barking and Dagenham had the highest rate of premature deaths from liver disease, per head of population, across all 32 areas of London surveyed. Sadly, most of these deaths could have been prevented with increased awareness and earlier diagnosis.
Louise Payaniandy, Hepatology Nurse Specialist at Queens Hospital said:
“We are delighted to be working with the British Liver Trust to raise awareness of the need to look after your liver. This is an excellent opportunity to offer free screening and advice to people here in Dagenham about this very important health issue.”
Andrew Langford, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust, said:
“Liver disease is a silent killer and many people don’t realise that they have a problem until it is too late. I hope as many people will attend our event in Dagenham as possible. If you are unable to attend you can still find out if you are at risk by taking the online screener on our website.”
“The liver is just as vital an organ as the heart, but people often fail to appreciate the importance of keeping it healthy. As part of my work I come across many patients who have suffered serious liver damage not just through obvious alcohol addiction but through regular heavy drinking which has become normal to them.
“I also see people whose liver problems have simply come from being overweight and having a poor diet – that’s why we need to help people understand how to ‘Love Your Liver’ by making the right lifestyle choices and encouraging anyone who is or has been at risk of damaging their liver to have it checked.”
Liver disease is largely preventable. More than 90% is due to three main risk factors: alcohol, obesity and viral hepatitis. The British Liver Trust’s ‘Love Your Liver’ campaign focuses on three simple steps to Love Your Liver back to health:
- Drink within recommended limits and have three consecutive days off alcohol every week
- Cut down on sugar, carbohydrates and fat and take more exercise
- Know the risk factors for viral hepatitis and get tested or vaccinated if at risk
These simple steps help the liver to keep functioning at its best.
The Trust provides support and detailed information for anyone with, or affected by a liver condition. For more information, or to take the online ‘Love Your Liver’ health screener, visit www.britishlivertrust.org.uk.