HEALTH chiefs in South Derbyshire are urging people to take note of new advice after the number of people dying of liver disease skyrocketed.
The grim figure in the area has soared by 450 per cent in 30 years, with alcohol and bad diet being blamed.
Liver disease deaths have risen by 12 per cent in the last three years alone and, if this trend continues, deaths are expected to double in the next 20 years.
Dr Sheila Newport, chairman of the NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “One of our main priorities is to stop people falling ill, as prevention is better than cure for both patients and the NHS.
“That’s why we’re urging people to look after their livers.
“The liver is a durable organ that can repair itself very quickly if people follow our simple advice.”
Twice as many people now die from liver disease than in 1991, and liver disease is the fifth biggest killer in England and Wales after heart disease, cancer, stroke and respiratory disease.
Dr Newport said it was important to:
• Keep off alcohol for two or three days in a row each week;
• Take more exercise and stay fit; and
• Cut down on sugar and fat.
She added: “Not drinking for two to three days running gives the liver time to recover. Providing the liver has no serious damage, it can take as little as 24 hours to go back to normal.
“Eating well and exercising regularly will prevent people getting overweight and developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
“Cutting down on daily food indulgences and not overloading on sugary drinks will help optimise liver function.
“People feeling constantly tired should visit their GP and request a liver function test, especially if they have been pushing the boundaries regularly with alcohol or fatty foods.
“As jaundice can indicate liver damage, anyone noticing yellowing of their eyes or skin should visit their GP straight away.”
The number of deaths from alcohol-related liver disease in England and Wales rose by 41 per cent between 1999 and 2005, while hospital admissions for alcohol-related disease increased by 71 per cent between 2002-03 and 2006-07.
The cost to the NHS of alcohol misuse is around £2.7 billion a year.