Liver disease, particularly cirrhosis, is on the rise due to the obesity epidemic and on-going high levels of alcohol consumption. However, not everyone with liver disease is very overweight or drinks heavily every day. Some people can unfortunately develop advanced liver disease without ever having touched alcohol. It is important to recognise liver damage early before cirrhosis develops
Liver function tests (LFTs), traditionally used to identify liver disease, are simply not accurate enough. Even subtle abnormalities could indicate serious underlying liver problems. Likewise, ultrasound scanning is not always sensitive enough either. However, FibroScan, a simple, painless non-invasive test can accurately diagnose fatty liver and assess whether there is established liver damage already.
We have set-up a consultant-delivered 'one-stop' liver clinic. We can offer a comprehensive assessment of liver health including a full panel of blood tests to exclude the commonest causes of liver disease. A FibroScan will then be performed by a consultant Hepatologist (liver specialist) to determine whether there is any evidence of fatty liver and whether there are any signs of liver fibrosis or scarring. Interpretation of the results with relevant advice/reassurance will be delivered at the same time.
We will be happy to assess anyone worried about the health of their liver, whether it be because of lifestyle factors, family history or otherwise. We will also be happy to assess anyone concerned by abnormal LFTs results. We will probably be able to offer reassurance with simple lifestyle measures and discharge back to the care of the GP. In some cases, more advanced liver disease will be picked up and in such cases we will offer more intensive monitoring and surveillance if appropriate.
Dr Safa l-Shamma