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One in five adults in Northern Ireland ‘unaware’ they have liver disease

One in five adults in Northern Ireland may be walking around with liver disease and be completely unaware because there are usually no symptoms in the early stages, warns the British Liver Trust.

The Love Your Liver mobile screening and scanning unit will be visiting three liver disease across Northern Ireland between 14th to 16th May. Admissions to hospitals in Northern Ireland of patients diagnosed with liver disease are steadily rising. In 2012/13, more than 2,500 people are admitted to hospital with liver disease, an increase of 28% since 2010/11.

More than 600,000 people in the UK have a significant degree of liver damage and the British Liver Trust estimates that over 90% of these cases could have been prevented.

Members of the public are invited to the Love Your Liver roadshow where they can assess their risk of getting liver disease, find out what preventative measures they can take to keep their liver healthy and be offered a free liver scan.

The roadshow has been funded by a grant from the National Lottery.

Liver disease is the third leading cause of premature death in England & Wales, with over 40 people dying from the disease every day.

Pamela Healy, Chief Executive, British Liver Trust, said, “One in three of us are at risk of liver disease and the numbers of people being diagnosed have been increasing at an alarming rate. Liver damage develops silently with no signs or symptoms and people often don’t realise they have a problem until it is too late. Although the liver is remarkably resilient, if left until symptoms appear, the damage is often irreversible.

“The Love Your Liver roadshow is a great opportunity for people to find out their risk of liver disease and the first one hundred people to attend will receive a free non-invasive scan. Approximately 20% of the people we scan need to have further checks.”

The British Liver Trust’s Love Your Liver campaign focuses on three simple steps to Love Your Liver back to health:

  • Drink within recommended limits and have three consecutive days off alcohol every week
  • Cut down on sugar, carbohydrates and fat, and take more exercise
  • Know the risk factors for viral hepatitis and get tested or vaccinated if at risk

The roadshow comprises a mobile unit where people can take a free online screening test and find out if they are at risk. Free liver health scanning will also be available using a non-invasive device. There will be expert guidance on how to keep your liver healthy from healthcare professionals who will be on hand to provide advice on diet, exercise and healthy living.

Guildhall Square, Derry Tuesday 14th May 2019
Writers Square, Belfast Wednesday 15th May 2019
City Hall, Belfast Thursday 16th May 2019

Anyone wishing to take advantage of these free events should attend between 10am and 4pm. If you wish to be scanned please arrive early as places are limited. If you can’t attend the event you can still find out if you are at risk and check your liver health online by doing the online screening test at https://www.britishlivertrust.org.uk/screener

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