New data published by the British Liver Trust now demonstrates the largest cause of death in adults, aged between 35 to 49 years in the UK, is liver disease. According to the data, a shocking total of 998 men and women, aged between 35 to 49 years, died as a result of liver disease in 2017 and this accounted for 10 percent of the deaths within this specific demographic, surpassing deaths from breast cancer and heart disease.
The report on “The alarming impact of liver disease in the UK” established today coincides with Love Your Liver week, a campaign pioneered by the British Liver Trust. The report published by the charity organisation compiles data from more than two hundred sources and italicises the level, to which liver disease impacts the UK. Other concerns underlined by the report suggested liver disease could surpass the UK’s current biggest cause of death, heart disease over the coming years.
Moreover, the report highlighted socio-economic factors came into play in influencing the onset of liver disease in individuals. People residing in more deprived areas were found to be six times more likely to die from alcohol-related liver disease, than those in wealthier, more developed areas.
Risk Factors for Liver Disease
Liver problems can develop with no transparent symptoms and this is more so the case in the early stages. Subsequently, by the time people are admitted it can often be too late; approximately three quarters of individuals with cirrhosis (late stage scarring of the liver) only realised they had the condition, once they were admitted to A&E (accident and emergency).
Speaking about the liver disease crisis in the UK, Pamela Healy, Chief Executive of British Liver Trust, stated: “We are facing a liver disease epidemic in the UK. Helping people understand how to reduce their risk of liver damage is vital to address the increase in deaths from liver disease. Although the liver is remarkably resilient, if left too late damage is often irreversible. I would urge everyone to take our online screener on our website to see if they are at risk.”
The Love Your Liver campaign directed by the British Liver Trust aims to target individuals, who may have the early stages of liver disease. The campaign prioritises three steps to cut the risk of liver disease which include: keeping to drinking limits and having three consecutive alcohol-free days per week, consuming a balanced diet that incorporates regular exercise and being informed on the risk factors for viral hepatitis and getting tested if at risk.