MPs are saying the lack of action to tackle liver disease in the UK is “scandalous” as report shows that liver disease in England have risen 40% between 2001-2012.
David Amess MP, who co-chairs the Parliamentary Hepatology Group said if the rise in liver disease continues to be ignored then “before long every one of us will know somebody with cirrhosis, end stage liver disease or liver cancer.”
Liver disease accounts for the fifth highest number of deaths in the UK and is the only one of the major killers that does not have a national strategy. But what is causing the rise in liver disease?
In the film “Super Size Me”, Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonalds for 30 days. He was trying to understand the impact this would have on his body and the results showed his liver turned to fat (along with many other physical and emotional problems).
The main causes of liver disease are alcohol misuse, obesity and viral hepatitis. All of these are diseases of lifestyle and are preventable.
A BBC news report looks at two liver disease patients.
Dave Norris, from Forest Gate in north-east London said he was devastated to learn last year that he needed a liver transplant.
Mr Norris, 58, said he had always been overweight but never realised that it might permanently damage his liver.
“I was completely shocked when I was told I had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. I had Type 2 diabetes and weighed 100 kilos (nearly 16 stone) but thought you had to be much fatter than that to do such damage to the liver.”
Mr Norris had a liver transplant in November 2013. He is now back at work and says he is taking better care of his health and watching his weight.
Chris Wilde, a retired dentist from Devon nearly died eight years ago as a result of decades of drink-related liver damage.
He suffered massive internal bleeding due to liver malfunction and was told that unless he gave up alcohol he would die.
Mr Wilde, 65, said: “I considered myself a social drinker but now realise I was dependent on alcohol. I had two cans of lager and maybe half a bottle of wine each day, which was similar to my friends. But it was scarring my liver.”
He gave up alcohol and hopes his story will make others aware of the potential hidden damage they may be doing to themselves through drink.
Although overall alcohol consumption in the UK has fallen in recent years, it has doubled since 1950.
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