Last week Dr Gavin Johnson and colleagues from UCL and the Royal Free Hospital ran a successful two-day update on liver disease. All aspects of liver disease and its complications were covered, including alcohol, viral hepatitis and the issues around liver transplantation. The course attracted trainee doctors and consultants from all over the UK and was very well received. Dr Johnson presented the session focusing on diseases of the bile ducts and the matters relating to biliary endoscopy (ERCP).
Greater awareness of liver disease needed
Liver disease is a major cause of ill health and mortality in the UK, and one of the leading causes of preventable death. Making sure that people understand the lifestyle factors that increase the risk of liver disease is very important. “Huge progress has been made in many areas. A good example is hepatitis C. New drugs are now coming through that can cure patients of all forms of hepatitis in the vast majority of cases. This seemed like science fiction only a few years ago,” reports Dr Johnson.
Tackling the epidemic of liver disease
Unfortunately, new drugs cannot solve all the problems. The UK still faces an epidemic of liver disease due to alcohol-related liver disease and fatty-liver disease. “Both of these are due to drinking alcohol beyond safe limits and to being overweight or obese because of eating too much and not doing enough exercise. The strategy for preventing these forms of liver disease lies with changing people’s understanding of the problem and their behaviour and so spans government policy, education and health services,” adds Dr Johnson.
The Gastroenterology and Hepatology Team at The Physicians’ Clinic offer a complete liver health check, including liver function tests and Fibroscan imaging. We can diagnose liver disease and provide lifestyle advice and treatment as necessary, and we can identify whether you are at risk of developing it in the future.