The development of a National Liver Disease Strategy (NLDS) is moving closer after first being announced over 2 years ago.
With excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and hepatitis B and C infections as the main causes of liver disease, early identification and treatment is key to success. The strategy will seek to ensure improved partnership working in order to address the major lifestyle behaviours affecting liver disease rates.
To influence the development of the liver strategy, NHS Liver Care are hosting a number of workshops for health specialists around the country, and have revealed a new on-line newsletter called Liver Matters to kick-start discussions and interest in liver disease.
The British Liver Trust recently called for a national liver screening strategy following their Love Your Liver roadshows in major cities across the UK in January 2012. Overall 28% of the general public who had their liver health assessed were referred back to their GPs for further assessment and Liver Function tests (LFTs). Those in Glasgow seemed to have the most unhealthy livers, with 41% of those tested referred back to their GP, compared with only 10% in Birmingham.
Andrew Langford, the Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust said "We are faced with unprecedented levels of Liver Disease over the next couple of decades due to the lifestyles we now lead." He emphasised that drinkers should have at least 2-3 consecutive days off alcohol each week to give the liver a chance to recover. A 63% rise in liver disease amongst young people was recently reported in the North East over the last 7 years.
The Government recently announced the new Change4Life campaign "Don't let drink sneak up on you" to emphasise the the importance of alcohol free days, a message some argue was lost in the switch from weekly to daily guidelines.