Liver Disease in the UK
1 in 10 people will have a problem with their liver
As many as one in ten people have problems with the liver at some time in their life. Although alcohol abuse is one reason, in fact the causes are more wide ranging and the incidence of almost all types of liver disease is rising. In the UK liver disease is the only major cause of death still increasing year-on-year and it is an increasing health burden worldwide.
The ongoing problems of the large numbers of patients clinically infected with hepatitis C are also giving rise to concern. Less than 10-15% of those infected are currently diagnosed and the same applies to hepatitis B virus infection which is increasingly being found in the UK as a result of immigration and greater mobility of people through international air travel.
The frequency of primary liver cell cancer and that of bile duct cancers is increasing, for reasons which are not entirely clear. A particular type of continuing liver damage called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), related to body weight and a constellation of metabolic abnormalities, is being increasingly encountered even in young adolescents and it is thought will cause a new epidemic of cirrhosis.
Why only some people are harmed by alcohol and other toxic agents may lie in our genes but much remains to be leant about the processes leading to severe liver disease and how best to manage complications such as jaundice, fluid retention and encephalopathy. Specific remedies, from antiviral therapy to radio-frequency ablation of tumours, are becoming more effective. Liver transplantation is a gift of life but sadly because of the lack of donor organs many patients cannot be treated. The possibility of repopulation of a diseased liver by implantation of healthy cells and the correction of underlying genetic defects may represent the most exciting therapeutic prospects.
Our Vision is to strive for new knowledge and understanding of liver disorders through scientific research leading to new and improved treatments for those whose lives are devastated by liver disease. Help us Fight Liver Disease.