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A lifeline for your liver?
“Worried well’ putting liver health at risk as they shun visits to GP on alcohol related matters’ says new study but new test can help

Growing groups of the so-called “worried well” are putting their lives at risk by shunning visits to their GP over alcoholic health related matters, according to new evidence. The study showed that 73% would not consider going to their GP concerning their liver health, revealing the extent to which people are putting themselves at risk from liver disease. However, LiverCheck, the UK’s only home-to-lab blood testing kit might be able to help.

The study, which appears in Hepatology, the world’s leading liver publication, based its findings on 1039 UK subjects (561 female/478 male) who took a LiverCheck home-to-lab liver function blood test. The results revealed abnormally high levels of the two enzymes, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), which if found in high levels in the blood stream have been shown to increase higher risk of mortality.

Rajiv Jalan, MD, PhD, FRCPE, FRCP, Professor of Hepatology, Institute of Hepatology, University College London, Medical School and co-author of the article says:

“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."

Further analysis also revealed that of those surveyed:

• 44% admitted they drank alcohol on a daily basis
• 26% regularly consumed more than twice the government guidelines on safe drinking
• 73% would not have considered going to their GP concerning their liver health opting for the privacy, convenience and confidentiality of a home-to-lab liver function test.
• 87% would not seek further advice from their GP even though 76% admitted that as a result of a LiverCheck test they would reduce their alcohol intake.

The report gives a clear and worrying snapshot of current UK drinking habits. Since this is the UK’s only home-to-lab liver function test, the figures are unique and only available from those worried enough about their liver health to take a liver function test. It is also important because it offers a proven and clinical option in addressing a potentially life threatening problem which previously had been unavailable to thousands of people adversely affected by alcohol consumption.

A spokesperson from the British Liver Trust commented:

“Testing and early diagnosis are essential so that people can get medical assistance and advice before their liver problems become more serious. Self-testing has a role in supporting individuals to take control of their health, and take action to protect them from further damage. However, we would advise anyone to seek medical advice if they are concerned about the health of their liver or concerned about whether their lifestyle (including drinking) is threatening their health.”

Currently liver disease is the fifth biggest killer in the UK and the biggest single increasing health threat in major developed countries. Each year 7,500 Britons die from liver disease and 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.

The LiverTest costs £99 and is available from YorkTest.com, livercheck.co.uk or by calling 0800 074 6185.

-END-

For further information please contact:
Joanne Jarvis / 020 7202 8520 jo@tiger-white.com
Andrea Kilbride/ 020 7202 8520 andrea@tiger-white.com

NOTES TO EDITORS
• 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.
• Recently, in ITV’s ‘Tonight’ programme, LiverCheck compared favourably with liver function tests done by BUPA.
• A paper by Lee et al published in Hepatology (vol. 47, no 3) conducted a study of 18, 401 people in 2008. Its findings confirmed the link between high levels of AST & ALT with higher rates of mortality.

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