CEO, British Liver Trust
The UK is facing a liver disease crisis and the latest statistics from the British Liver Trust make for alarming reading. Deaths from liver disease have increased by 400% since 1970 and it is set to overtake cardiovascular disease as the biggest cause of premature death in the next few years.
People who have liver disease often don’t experience symptoms in the early stages. Three quarters of people are currently diagnosed at a late stage, when the disease is so advanced that there are few options for treatment or intervention.
When damage to the liver is irreversible, it increases the risk of further complications, including developing liver cancer and liver failure.
Alarmingly, one in five of us are at risk, yet there is a chronic lack of awareness and funding for the disease.
The British Liver Trust campaigns for change and works tirelessly to raise awareness, improve early diagnosis and detection and support clinicians to give the best possible care.
90% of liver disease is preventable
One of the best lines of defence we have against liver disease is to prevent the liver damage occurring in the first place.
Liver disease is preventable 90% of the time as it is often caused by either drinking too much alcohol, obesity or viral hepatitis.
Given the chance, the liver has an incredible ability to replace damaged tissue with new cells and regenerate.
Taking steps to look after your liver will give it the chance to recover but it is like an elastic band – it can only stretch so far before it breaks, and the damage to your liver becomes permanent.
The British Liver Trust’s Love Your Liver campaign raises awareness of the risk factors and helps people understand how to reduce their risk of liver damage.
Three key steps for good liver health:
- Drink within recommended limits and have three consecutive alcohol-free days every week
- Maintain a healthy weight by eating well and taking more exercise
- Know the risk factors for viral hepatitis and get tested or vaccinated if at risk.