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7 in 10 people with liver disease in the UK don't actually know they have it, says research

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Tuesday, 19th June 2018

7 in 10 people with liver disease in the UK don't actually know they have it

Although over 60,000 adults in the UK have cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, nearly 75% don't know about it, according to research published in prestigious medical journal the Lancet.

For many, the first indication follows admission to A&E when the disease is advanced and chances of survival are very low.

This week – 18th to 24th June – is Love Your Liver week, and the British Liver Trust has launched a new version of an online screening tool so that people can find out if they are at risk.

Liver disease is responsible for more than 1 in 10 deaths of people in their 40s, and is one of the leading causes of premature death in England.

The charity say that liver problems develop silently with no obvious symptoms in the early stages – yet, the disease is largely preventable through lifestyle changes.

The Love Your Liver awareness campaign, promoted by the British Liver Trust, aims to reach the one in five people in the UK who may have the early stages of liver disease, but are unaware of it.

More than 90% of liver disease is due to three main risk factors: obesity, alcohol and viral hepatitis.

Judi Rhys, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust, said: '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 to see if they are at risk.'

The British Liver Trust's Love Your Liver campaign focuses on three simple steps to Love Your Liver back to health: 

1. Drink within recommended limits and have three consecutive alcohol-free days every week

2. Cut down on sugar, carbohydrates and fat and complete more exercise

3. Know the risk factors for viral hepatitis and get tested or vaccinated if at risk

To take the British Liver Trust's screener, please visit their website. The charity are also hoping to bring their mobile screening roadshow to Blackpool, Derby and Portsmouth, to help screen more individuals than ever before. To read more or to support their cause, please click here.