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‘Silent’ killer disease with few early symptoms sending thousands to hospital

Charities are calling for urgent action to tackle the rise in liver disease, a potentially deadly condition whose symptoms often go unnoticed in its early stages. 

Hospital admissions where the primary diagnosis was liver disease rose by 22 percent in the financial year ending 2022, according to the latest NHS figures. There were 82,290 admissions in 2022 compared to 67,458 in 2021.

The number of people going to hospital for liver disease has increased by almost 47 percent in the last 10 years.

People living in more deprived areas, such as many parts of the West Midlands, are more likely to get liver disease, experts suggest.

READ MORE: Signs of liver disease to spot as hospital admissions surge 22% in just one year[LATEST]

The British Liver Trust explains that liver disease often shows “minimal to no symptoms” in its early stages.

However, the disease is “almost entirely preventable”, with alcohol, obesity and hepatitis B and C being the main risk factors contributing to about 90 percent of cases.

Three-quarters of people are diagnosed with cirrhosis, which is the most severe form of liver disease, when it’s already too late for effective intervention or treatment.

Vanessa Hebditch, director of policy at the British Liver Trust, said: “These figures once again demonstrate how action is needed.

“The British Liver Trust is calling for a prompt and comprehensive review of adult liver services to address the huge variation and inequalities in liver disease treatment outcomes and care.

“The surge in hospital admissions emphasises the urgent need for immediate action to tackle the growing burden of liver disease on the NHS and society as a whole.”

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The trust is calling on the Government to “prioritise investment in prevention and early diagnosis of liver disease”.

Ms Hebditch added: “Addressing the root causes of liver disease, such as alcohol misuse and obesity, should be at the forefront of the Government’s agenda.

“By allocating resources to education, raising awareness, and promoting healthier lifestyles, we can collectively work towards reducing the burden of liver disease and improving the well-being of individuals across the country.”

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