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Liver disease shock rise in North West
A SHOCKING new study has revealed that deaths from liver disease are 42 per cent higher in the North West compared to the rest of England.
Poor diets and excessive drinking has been blamed for causing the problem, which health experts say is ‘the tip of a growing iceberg’.
Key findings of the report by the North West Public Health Observatory and Health Protection Agency North West, show that: n The number of men dying from liver disease each year in the North West is up 20 per cent since 2005.
- Hospital admissions for liver disease as the primary diagnosis increased 30 per cent in the last five years.
- Alcohol-related liver disease accounts for 47 per cent of liver disease deaths in men and 43 per cent in women and affects more people living in deprived areas.
- Hospital admissions due to fatty liver disease as a primary or secondary diagnosis have increased 182 per cent, from 913 in the last five years.
Professor Mark Bellis, director of the Centre for Public Health, said: “The increa- sing levels of obesity and alcohol consumption we have seen over recent decades have resulted in rising levels of liver disease across the North West, while much of Europe has seen levels fall.
“Liver disease is the tip of a growing iceberg of ill health resulting from poor diet and excessive drinking and a stark reminder that so far we have failed to tackle either.”
Professor Martin Lombard, national clinical director for liver disease, said: “This report highlights the fact that in the North West liver disease has reached a very significant level.
“It is getting to the stage where most residents will know someone, or know someone who knows someone else, who has died of liver disease or has a health issue from liver disease.”
- The liver is the body's largest internal organ, providing vital functions including the filter of toxins, such as alcohol, from the blood.
- There are many causes of liver disease but most cases are attributed to alcohol, viral hepatitis or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- But because the liver has no pain fibres there are often no signs that damage is happening until disease is far advanced.
- Doctors recently unveiled a colour-coded blood test which can reveal the damage caused by excess drinking.