Health

UK faces surge in silent killer disease – eight major risk factors listed


Health experts are warning the public to consider eight vital factors that could lead to a huge surge in cases of a killer disease. The UK could be set to experience a “tsunami” in cases of fatty liver disease as a result.

This is due to high rates of obesity in the UK, which is one of the main risk factors for the condition, as well as rising levels of type 2 diabetes.

According to the British Liver Trust (BLT) there is an “increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes and obesity,” which could bring a liver disease “tsunami.”

As the name suggests, fatty liver disease is caused by a build-up of fat in the liver. It is “usually seen in people who are overweight or obese,” the NHS says.

Diabetes.co.uk adds that fatty liver disease occurs in at least 50 percent of people with type 2 diabetes and close to half of those with type 1 diabetes.

Speaking to The Sun, Vanessa Hebditch from the BLT warned: “There is a need for greater awareness of the link between diabetes and liver disease.

“It is well known that type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of many health issues including cardiovascular and kidney disease but it can also significantly raise your risk of fatty liver disease.”

There are eight risk factors for fatty liver disease, according to the BLT.

They are:

Fatty liver disease, also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is not harmful at first, the NHS said, and “it’s possible to stop NAFLD getting worse and reduce the amount of fat in your liver.”

However, if left unchecked, it can develop into cirrhosis and “serious liver damage,” according to the health service.

Symptoms in the early stages of fatty liver disease do not usually arise, earning it the title of a silent killer.

But more advanced stages it can cause:

  • A dull or aching pain in the top right of the tummy (over the lower right side of the ribs)
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness.

The charity Diabetes UK called on political parties to “commit to tackling the alarming rise in cases of type 2 diabetes among people aged under 40 years”, in a report released in May.

The charity’s data said there was a 40 percent uptick in type 2 diabetes diagnoses between 2016-17 and 2022-23.

Children in poorer areas are also more at risk and five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than children in less deprived areas.

The charity said in its report: “Our new figures show that there are nearly 4.4 million people in the UK who live with a diagnosis of diabetes as of 2022/23.

“Approximately eight percent of these cases are type 1 diabetes, and 90 percent are type 2 diabetes. The other types of diabetes make up the remaining two percent.

“There are more than 1.2 million people who may be living with type 2 diabetes and have not yet been diagnosed. This means that more than 5.6 million people now live with diabetes in the UK. “

Long-term liver damage caused by fatty liver disease – linked to issues such as obesity – can cause scar tissue known as cirrhosis to build up, which increases the chances of cancer developing.

If you are concerned about your weight or any of the symptoms mentioned here you should speak to your GP.



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