Friday, October 15, 2010

It's Liver Awareness Month - Let's Get the Word Out

October is Liver Awareness Month and in recognition of this the American Liver Foundation (ALF) has posted some statistics about the prevalence of liver disease on its website. The numbers are surprising:

* More than 30 million people in the U.S. have liver disease (1 in 10 Americans).

* Liver diseases such as hepatitis C, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and liver cancer are on the rise.

* Up to 25 percent of Americans may have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

* Four million Americans are infected with hepatitis C and more than 1 million Americans are infected with hepatitis B.

* Approximately 15,000 children are hospitalized every year with pediatric liver disease or disorders

I believe most people don't give liver disease much thought: As ALF also noted on its site, "The liver is a vital organ – no one can survive without it - but it is a silent organ because it can be damaged without sending any signals or symptoms." I'm proof of this. I was diagnosed with hep C in the late 1980s but didn't experience any health problems until 2006, and by then it was too late - a transplant was my only option.

Take time this month to talk about liver disease with your friends and family. Help make sure they don't become a statistic.

Photo - Gray's Anatomy

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