Liver disease is currently the fifth biggest killer in England and Wales, after heart disease, cancer, stroke and respiratory disease. Yet surprisingly, out of the five, liver disease is the only major cause of death still increasing year-on-year; with one-in-five people now at risk . Yet, 94% of respondents to a recent survey by Siemens Healthineers admitted to being unaware that cases of liver disease were increasing.
Often billed as the ‘silent killer’, liver disease has become dangerously ignored in recent years. In fact, only 2% of respondents said liver disease was the medical condition they were most concerned about. Cancer is the greatest worry for six in ten (60%) UK adults, followed by stroke (17%), heart disease (13%) and diabetes (8%). All of which are decreasing in their prevalence.
Despite a number of education programmes, almost one in ten (9%) admitted to being unaware that high alcohol consumption was a key contributor to liver disease. In addition, around half of people were unaware that a poor diet, obesity and undiagnosed hepatitis infection could also lead to the disease.
“Generally, people are much more worried about suffering from cancer, a stroke, heart disease or diabetes than they are from having liver disease,” says Peter Harrison, Managing Director, Siemens Healthineers GB and Ireland.
“Whilst these diseases are all concerning, Liver disease is the only major cause of death still increasing year-on-year . The lack of awareness of liver disease causes and symptoms means that people may be unaware they have the disease until it is too late. But it needn’t be that way.
“Advancements in early diagnosis means that a trip to the GP for a simple and quick blood test, or a referral for an ultrasound can help to reduce the number of people with advanced liver disease. However, an even better approach would be screening to turn the tide against a growing problem that’s often unnoticed until it’s too late.“
Should you be worried that you may be suffering from liver disease, it is recommended you contact your local GP.