Did you know liver disease is the only cause of premature death in the UK which is still increasing?
Worryingly, recent Public Health findings have shown liver disease will soon overtake heart disease as the most common killer of people who are of working age.
Tragically, it is believed liver disease can ultimately be avoided and is caused by poor lifestyle choices. The forms of liver diseases can be split into non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcohol-related and on some occasions viral hepatitis.
Fortunately the liver is a very resilient organ and there is still plenty you can do to avoid complications later in life. My column is a perfect opportunity to share some tips with you all!
The early stages of liver disease do not show any symptoms, which means your liver is already scarred by the time complications present themselves. Unfortunately around 80 per cent of liver disease patients first visit hospital when little or nothing can be done to reverse the problem.
Thankfully lots of work is being done to help identify patients who are at risk of liver disease to ensure preventative measures can be put in place.
Alcohol is one of the biggest potential factors which has been identified. If you regularly drink a lot of alcohol, it may be time to think about cutting down your consumption. In order to keep your risk of alcohol-related harm low, I would recommend not regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week. If you do drink as much as 14 units, spread it out evenly over three or more days.
Another possible cause of liver disease is being very overweight which causes a build up of fat in the liver. Maintaining a healthy diet and keeping active are the key components for losing weight.
You should eat a wide range of foods, including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta. Keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum and don’t skip meals during the day.
Aim for at least two and a half hours of physical exercise every week. You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath – this could be fast walking, climbing stairs or doing more strenuous housework. Whatever suits you best will do!
Remember, visit your GP if you are experiencing signs of liver disease such as feeling tired, weak and having a loss of appetite. By working together we can help stop the rise of liver disease!