How many of us know what our liver does or even where it is?
Located under your right lung, approx. 1.5 Kg, the size of a small loaf of bread, protected by your ribs, is one of the most important organs you have.
Central to blood glucose levels, fat, protein metabolism and synthesis, it clears up your body for you and interacts with all other organs, just a few of over 500 functions. Everything you consume is processed in some way by it – EVERYTHING! but because it does not complain or give us warnings until the damage is great. we ignore it.
Today it’s getting its own back
Liver disease is a growing epidemic throughout the world in healthcare and is now the third largest cause of early death and fifth largest overall cause of death in the UK. Add to that those who die of liver related conditions – Heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) then you can understand how the National Health Service is being swamped by illnesses that can be prevented with a little earlier knowledge and choice of a better option.
Whether you work hard, play hard or just enjoy life, what we choose to put in our body has an effect
Making the choice to exercise for some is to balance the effects of a hardworking, social culture where evenings drinking or being entertained as part of our working lives is normal. For some poor lifestyle options are not options they are the only choice they have – fast food is always the cheaper option and therefore the only affordable choice for many and their families.
We are all aware that alcohol can cause damage to the liver over time. If we don’t get out liver checked, how do we know what our timeline is?
Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver (NAFLD) is one of the world’s fastest growing conditions and now the biggest reason for liver transplants in the UK (not alcohol!) NAFLD is heavily driven by obesity, but your biggest cause of death will not be from the liver but from the heart disease or T2DM it is related to.
Being larger does not necessarily mean you have NAFLD but approximately 70% will. Similarly, exercising does not mean you won’t have NAFLD – if you get the choice to replace those calories with high sugar, fatty foods, regular alcohol or healthy options which do you choose?
Many other factors do influence our liver health including genetics. You can be larger and healthy but NAFLD is inclusive of everyone and you can drive it or prevent it – a choice.
Taking control of lifestyles to be fitter and eat better is a way forward but it does not always mean that we are healthier on the inside or have to be perfect.
Being able to alter your diet options if the liver has excess fat; to reduce your cardiac and T2DM risks become manageable lifestyle options and choices. Locating stiffness that can be reversed for many if you stop the cause, without knowing you don’t get that choice.
Monitoring your liver health and how it travels through life with you is now an option
- You did dry January but what condition was the liver in at the start or at the end? How do you know it didn’t also need dry February and March?
- You went on a diet for January? 7-10% of weight loss can have excellent benefits to the liver and how much did you help your liver?
- You joined the gym – did all that exercise help your liver or does it need a little more help?
- For those who have difficulty with diets; being able to see the physical alterations of that hard work helps motivation, assists trainers, dietitians and nutritionists.
Those who are parents and alter their food choices also alter their children’s. Child obesity is an epidemic, 10% of 10-year olds are obese, T2DM and heart disease is developed ever younger.
We face a real risk of watching our children die before us as a result of or lack of lifestyle choices
In those who have NAFLD, approximately 20% have a dangerous liver condition which is responsible for the rise in Liver cancer and death called Non Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis (NASH). Without knowing if you have these then you don’t have the opportunity to alter them.
Today, as you read this, 16 people in the UK will be told they have liver cancer because they did NOT get the opportunity to have their liver checked earlier in life to alter something.
1 in 2 people with NASH have T2DM
2 in 3 people with NASH have Hypertension and
1 in 3 people with NASH are being treated for high blood cholesterol
The majority of them did NOT get the opportunity to have their liver checked earlier in life to alter something
NAFLD, NASH and Liver cancer higher in those with T2DM and many still do not get this opportunity.
Dr Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
Getting a FibroScan® and knowing your liver health could just be one of the most important health checks you chose to get. It allows you to know better. It can tell you if you have a problem that many can alter themselves, for some it may give an early sign and help prevent a problem but without knowing it’s guess work.
But best of all it can tell you that the liver is soft and fat free just how it should be; in balance and equilibrium to keep you as fit and healthy as it can.
FibroScan® is one of the world’s most validated medical devices to detect both liver stiffness and fat content and is now available outside the NHS.
With FibroScan® liver scanning today many people will be given a lifestyle choice, and many will live, longer and healthier lives as a result of taking control of their health
Tawazun Health now offers FibroScan® in the Light centre Monument. This can deliver real time walk-in or booked liver scan Mondays from 3pm – 7pm.