Last week Forward Leeds were encouraging people they support to have their liver scanned using their new Fibroscan machines.
58 people who use the service found how healthy their liver is, straight away, by getting a free, non-invasive test using the machines that uses ultrasound technology.
The machines were used across the city’s three sites in Armley, Seacroft and the city centre to help people see the hidden damage their excessive drinking can cause.
This proved to be case for a 50 year-old woman who had come in for support for her drinking two weeks earlier at the Forward Leeds Seacroft hub. Focussed Intervention Team member Pete Griffiths suggested she have a Fibroscan test.
The test showed that alcohol had caused significant and severe liver damage. She was immediately referred on to St James Hospital’s hepatology department for additional care. Pete said: “Obviously for her, it’s not brilliant news but it shows it works. For her, this could be potentially life-saving.”
In 2020/21 Leeds had the second-highest rate of hospital admissions for liver disease in the country with 1620 people being taken to hospital. Leeds also had the third-highest rate of hospital admissions for alcoholic liver disease in England.
Area Manager for Forward Leeds Anne-Marie McMullan explained: “Often people aren’t aware of the damage that regular drinking can cause. Alcohol-related liver disease doesn’t usually have any symptoms until your liver has been severely damaged. The first signs your liver is harmed can be when it’s too late.
“The liver is very important. As well as removing poisons from the blood, you need it to digest food and to help fight infection and disease. The liver is really resilient, and it can recover, provided you give it the chance to do so. We are hoping that by highlighting the invisible damage that has already been done, people will want to change their lifestyle and prevent the serious health issues caused by liver disease.”