06 January, 2022
“Since 1970, deaths due to liver disease have increased by 400%. Every day, over 40 people die from liver disease in the UK. This is in stark contrast to other major killer diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, in which the number of deaths have either remained stable or decreased”, (British Liver Trust).
‘Love your Liver Month’ is held in January of each year to raise awareness surrounding the dangers of not looking after your liver. It is important to highlight the benefits to caring for your liver and how to do so. The above worrying statistic shows this deadly disease is increasing at an alarming rate. More and more people have become susceptible to the disease due to an unhealthy way of living. The liver is the ‘unsung hero of the human body’, (Brighton & Hove), carrying out many functions on a daily basis to keep the body healthy and free from diseases and toxins. There are three main causes of liver disease consisting of obesity, an undiagnosed hepatitis infection, and / or alcohol misuse. The liver can withstand considerable abuse but often needs time to recuperate and heal.
The benefits of looking after your liver
The liver is the largest internal organ in the body and removes harmful toxins from the bloodstream, produces bile to assist digestion and breaks down carbohydrates and stores energy, (General and Medical). It is important to look after your liver because if symptoms start, there will already be significant scarring and damage of the liver called cirrhosis, (Mayo Clinic). Despite the robustness of the liver, once there is scarring and internal damage, it can be difficult to reverse.
The symptoms of liver disease
There are different types of liver disease and some do not cause symptoms at an early stage. Once symptoms commence, they can include:
- Feeling tired and weak all the time
- Loss of appetite
- Yellow skin and whites of the eyes
Testing for liver disease
Since liver disease symptoms often don’t arise until later in the infection, testing is of the upmost importance if you are at risk of the disease. Fortress Diagnostics offer the 11 parameter urine strip, intended for the screening of detection of diabetes, metabolic abnormalities, liver diseases, billiary and hepatic obstructions, haemolytic diseases and diseases of kidney and urinary tract infections. Therefore, to protect yourself from diseases that may initially have no symptoms, regular testing for high risk groups is essential to keep safe and reduce the risk of long term damage to any essential organs.