AFTER a heavy festive season, Carmarthenshire residents are being urged to find out how to love their liver during the Love Your Liver campaign, this January.
To spread awareness and educate people about liver health, professionals will be visiting a series of locations across the Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) area, in the coming weeks. Nicola Reeve, Blood-borne Virus Clinical Nurse Specialist, Hywel Dda University Health Board explained: “You may not hear much about it but your liver is your largest organ and is amazing as it has over 500 different roles in the body! “If you do think about your liver you may think about alcohol – a major risk factor which can affect the health of your liver. Breaking down poisons and toxins such as alcohol is just one of your liver’s jobs.
“Two other major risk factors which can affect the health of your liver are hepatitis and obesity. Across Wales the number of people with Hepatitis C has increased; every day people are newly infected with entirely preventable viral hepatitis. “Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus and by taking some simple steps to protect yourself, for example not sharing needles, you can dramatically reduce your risk of getting it.” Mark Lewis Team Leader of Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service Engagement team added: “With liver damage and Hepatitis C many people may have no specific symptoms as symptoms are often blamed on other things. “Hepatitis C is just one cause of liver disease and can be prevented by taking simple precautions. Even a tiny amount of dried blood – too small to be visible to the naked eye – is enough to pass on the infection if it gets into your blood stream. “During January, to mark Love Your Liver month, we will be running a series of road shows with the Drugaid Recovery Bus, talking to people about this virus, how they can get tested and what they can do to prevent getting it – including not sharing personal items such as razors, nail scissors, toothbrushes or any drug paraphernalia. “There is treatment but this is more effective if the virus is detected early, so if you think you may be at risk come along and have a chat with us at our road shows or give us a call on 03303 639997.”
Teresa Owen, Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “There are many easy ways to Love Your Liver. Being overweight and not doing enough exercise can damage your liver. Try to get 30 minutes of exercise into your day by making it part of your daily routine -like taking the stairs instead of the lift or taking a lunchtime walk; and take a look at your diet and make one healthy change.
Every little can help, as small changes can turn into big changes over time. “Another simple step you can take is to have two alcohol free days a week. Your liver works really hard, so come along to the road shows and find out how to keep you liver healthy and show it some love!” The roadshow will be in Carmarthen on Saturday (Jan 15) outside the Court on Guildhall Square between 9am and 5pm.
If you are unable to visit the road show but want more information visit: www.loveyourliver.org.uk.