●● Dr Ian Hulme, GP with Meadowside Medical Centre, Congleton and clinical lead on substance misuse for NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG. AS a busy GP, I’ve seen a worrying rise in recent years in the number of patients with liver disease.
Nationally, liver disease deaths have risen by more than 10 per cent in recent years and, if this trend continues, deaths are expected to double in the next 20 years.
Twice as many people now die from liver disease as in 1991, and liver disease is the fifth biggest killer in England and Wales after heart disease, cancer, stroke and respiratory disease.
Locally, 139 people from Eastern Cheshire were admitted to hospital from A&E with liver disease in 2013, rising slightly to 141 in 2014.
Between January and October this year, 113 people were admitted to hospital with liver disease – meaning we are likely to see similar levels of admittance as in previous years, with the majority of these cases caused by alcohol misuse. It’s not all bad news though, as although rates of alcoholrelated liver disease in Eastern Cheshire were far above the national average between 2011 and 2013, levels declined dramatically in 2014 and we now sit below the national average.
Moreover, the liver is a remarkably durable organ that can return to normal in as little as 24 hours – as long as no lasting damage has been done.
There are three simple steps that people can take to knock their livers back into shape quickly: ●● Keep off alcohol for two or three days in a
●● Dr Ian Hulme