Wednesday 29th October 2008
Home-to-lab test data sees regular drinkers raising risk of early death as hospital admissions reach record levels
A new report published today in the world’s leading liver journal, Hepatology, has unveiled new evidence which suggests UK’s alcohol problem is far worse than previously reported with as many as 50% of the drinkers studied putting themselves at higher risk of early death through alcohol consumption. The study, conducted by a group of leading liver specialists, reveals for the first time evidence that 26% drink twice the government guidelines on safe drinking, with 44% admitting to drinking every day.
The published data looked at increased ALT & AST enzyme levels in the blood, as detected by a clinical lab blood test called LiverCheck.co.uk, and the evidence adds to the worrying weight of new statistics from the National Audit Office about the increased hospital admissions which are reported to have doubled since 1995. The unique information in the Hepatology survey highlights disturbing findings by revealing that 73% of patients would not go to their GP with alcohol related health concerns.
Co-author Professor Rajiv Jalan, Institute of Hepatology, University College London Medical School said today:
"The data confirms the medical importance of ALT and AST as a marker for premature mortality as a consequence of liver disease. Due to the nature of the illness, the symptoms only appear when irreversible damage has been done so a screening procedure to detect the early signs of liver damage is essential. A GP is always your first port of call but for some a self test does have a vital role to play in saving lives."
Tom Hardman, MD of York-based LiverCheck.co.uk says:
“The most worrying aspect of all this new published data is that many of those at risk would not even go to a GP with their potentially life threatening condition. LiverCheck.co.uk was launched to highlight the early signs of liver damage which is available to anyone with any doubts of what their alcohol intake was doing to their health. If you were told you were going to die from alcohol related illness then you would do something about it. The LiverCheck test will save lives, and for those millions of drinkers we are providing a valuable service.”
The report gives a first ever snapshot of the UK habits of drinkers who opt for a convenient, confidential and clinical testing option. Since LiverCheck is UK’s only home-to-lab liver function tests, the Hepatology figures are unique and worrying at the same time. With many shunning the GP over alcohol related problems, it offers a proven clinical option in addressing a potentially life threatening problem.
Quote from Don Shenker, Chief Executive, Alcohol Concern:
“Tests like these may prove very useful to heavy drinkers who are concerned about the harm they are causing to their health. However, if alcohol drinks had better labelling about units many drinkers who were concerned about health implications would be able to make better choices and avoid damaging their health to such an extent. Similarly, those wish to cut down or stop drinking to improve their health often find that service provision in their area is very patchy and will not get the support they need to stop damaging their health further.”
The UK is in the grip of an alcoholic epidemic. Liver disease is the fifth biggest killer in the UK and the only one of the ‘big five’ with levels still on the increase of any major developed country. 6,500 Britons die from liver disease every year yet the problem is almost entirely preventable.
The article’s findings put forward a case for more awareness of liver health, and clearly demonstrate the need for accessible, clinical self tests to spot the early signs of potential liver disease before it is too late.
Full report available from firstname.lastname@example.org
LiverCheck is a clinical blood test done in a laboratory. The actual blood collection is supplied from home and posted away to a laboratory for testing. The blood is tested for ALT & AST enzyme levels and results are returned to the customer within five days. The results are easily interpreted in a traffic light colour coded system. Advice for all levels of result – from green to red - is part and parcel of the service.
Results do not appear on medical records or become part of your medical history. The test is confidential, clinical and convenient.
The test costs £99.
Any journalist requiring further information, or a LiverCheck test, please contact, Les Rowley on 01904 428 557.
YorkTest.com on 0800 074 6185 or visit livercheck.co.uk
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