HEALTH MAT­TERS

Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

DR Ian Hulme, GP with Mead­ow­side Med­i­cal Cen­tre, Con­gle­ton and clin­i­cal lead on sub­stance mis­use for NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG

Liver disease is a se­ri­ous is­sue. In­deed, if liver disease deaths con­tinue to rise at their cur­rent level, mor­tal­ity rates will 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.

Emer­gency hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions due to al­co­hol-re­lated liver disease at­trib­ut­able to eastern Cheshire pa­tients are con­sis­tently above the na­tional av­er­age, which is par­tic­u­larly wor­ry­ing con­sid­er­ing the area per­forms highly on most other health mea­sures.

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 row – al­though I ap­pre­ci­ate that’s dif­fi­cult with the fes­tive pe­riod is ap­proach­ing

• take more ex­er­cise and stay fit

• cut down on sugar and fat.

Not drink­ing for two to three days’ run­ning gives the liver time to re­cover and eat­ing well, while ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly will pre­vent peo­ple get­ting over­weight and de­vel­op­ing Non-Al­co­holic Fatty Liver Disease.

Cut­ting down on daily food treats and not over­load­ing on sug­ary drinks will help im­prove liver func­tion.

On top of that, I would urge peo­ple feel­ing con­stantly tried to visit their GP and re­quest a liver func­tion test, espe­cially if they have been push­ing the bound­aries reg­u­larly with al­co­hol or fatty foods.

And as jaun­dice can in­di­cate liver dam­age, any­one notic­ing yel­low­ing of their eyes or skin should visit their GP straight­away.

Pre­ven­tion is bet­ter than cure, for pa­tients and the NHS. That’s why I’m call­ing on peo­ple to look af­ter their liv­ers and stay healthy for a long and happy life.

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