Liver disease deaths rise 20 per cent in two years

New figures show deaths from liver disease in the West Midlands rose by 20 per cent in the pandemic lockdown year.

The Liver Trust said data showed that in 2020 there were 1,085 adult deaths compared to 902 deaths the previous year.

Ninety per cent of these deaths were linked to alcohol, being overweight or viral hepatitis, which are all preventable causes.

Across the UK there were 10,883 adult deaths in 2020 compared to 9,470 deaths the previous year.

The trust said the increase was particularly concerning as a new survey showed that less than half of the general public was aware that being overweight increases the risk of developing liver disease and that a third are unaware that there were usually no symptoms in the early stages.

Liver Trust chief executive Pamela Healy

Liver Trust chief executive Pamela Healy 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 during the pandemic.

“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.”

This month is Love Your Liver Awareness Month and to mark it the trust is appealing to residents to improve their liver health by having a weekly break from alcohol for three consecutive days, taking on a fitness challenge, reducing sugar intake, ditching processed foods or eating five pieces of fruit or vegetables a day.

“January is often a time that people take stock after an indulgent festive period and this year is even more important as the numbers at risk have also increased during the Covid pandemic.

“Many people have increased their alcohol consumption and gained weight – the two biggest risk factors for developing liver disease,” she added.

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