Meaghers Liver Wellness

 

Meaghers Pharmacy are delighted to continue our partnership with Professor Suzanne Norris, consultant Hepatologist and Gastroenterologist in St James’ Hospital and Liver Wellness.

We are running our next Clinic in our Churchtown Store on Friday 19th August 2022. Please click the below link to book and select Churchtown, before selecting the time that is most suitable for you. 

**Please note that bookings can only be made for those that have diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes and drink less than 10 units of alcohol per week**

 

There is a silent epidemic of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) in Ireland and patients with type 2 diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol are at greater risk of developing this disease.

International Clinical Practice Guidelines now recommend that screening for NAFLD should be part of routine work-up in patients with type 2 diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. 

Diagnosis of this condition is completed by Fibroscan.

 
What is NAFLD?

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which excess fat builds up in your liver. This buildup of fat is not caused by heavy alcohol use. When heavy alcohol use causes fat to build up in the liver, this condition is called alcohol-associated liver disease. 

There are two types of NAFLD - nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). People typically develop one type of NAFLD or the other, although sometimes people with one form are later diagnosed with the other form of NAFLD.



What is NAFL?

NAFL is a form of NAFLD in which you have fat in your liver but little or no inflammation or liver damage. NAFL typically does not progress to cause liver damage or complications. However, NAFL can cause pain from enlargement of the liver.

 

 

 

What is NASH?

NASH is the form of NAFLD in which you have inflammation of the liver and liver damage, in addition to fat in your liver. The inflammation and liver damage of NASH can cause fibrosis, or scarring, of the liver. NASH may lead to cirrhosis in which the liver is scarred and permanently damaged. Cirrhosis can then in turn lead to liver cancer.

 

 

What is the Treatment for Fatty Liver Disease?

The main focus of treatment when diagnosed is lifestyle intervention including diet and exercise. It does not take large amounts of weight loss to result in a decrease in liver fat. Scientific studies have shown that a 10% decrease in body weight results in a significant reduction in liver fat-related inflammation and fibrosis in NASH patients.

There is no current drug treatment but there are some novel drug therapies going through clinical trials. In severe cases where liver failure has developed, liver transplantation may be required.

 

What is a Fibroscan?

A FibroScan® test is a 10 minute, painless, non-invasive examination of liver health, and provides a painless and reliable alternative to liver biopsy. The test measures liver health by measuring liver fibrosis or scar tissue in the liver, and additionally measures the amount of fat in the liver using the new Controlled Attenuation Parameter (CAP) assessment.

 

Who can book in for a Fibroscan?

At the present time Fibroscan appointments in Meaghers are only being offered to Type 2 Diabetic patients. In order to participate in this screening you must consume less than 10 units of alcohol per week.

 

What happens at the Fibroscan Assessment?

  • You will lie down on your back and with your right arm raised behind your head.
  • The liver nurse will apply a small amount of gel to your right side of your abdomen and place the probe with slight pressure against your skin.
  • Ten consecutive measurements will be made at the same location. The device will measure the state of the liver globally, as opposed to a biopsy, where only a very small sample is measured.
  • The test takes about 10 minutes, and the result is delivered immediately at the end. It will be a number between 1.5 and 75 kPa.
  • The doctor will evaluate and interpret the results and your report with recommendations will be completed within 72 hours and sent to you, your referring specialist or GP.

 

Previous Results

In 2021 Meaghers Pharmacy were delighted to team up with Prof. Suzanne Norris, Consultant Hepatologist & Gastroenterologist in St James Hospital, for a second year, to participate in Europe’s only pharmacy-led Diabetes Liver Screen Initiative. For the month of May, we invited those with Type 2 Diabetes to come into our pharmacies for a free Fibroscan Liver Assessment. 

The aim of this initiative was to raise awareness about non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and to highlight the urgent need for liver screening to become part of routine testing in Type 2 Diabetes. Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), which often has no symptoms, is the most common liver disease in western countries and is defined as an excess of fat on the liver in the absence of increased alcohol intake. Patients with type 2 diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol are at greater risk of developing this disease which, if undiagnosed and left untreated, may lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Fortunately NAFLD can be prevented and/or reversed through healthy eating, exercise and weight reduction.

The results of these clinics were startling(as shown in graphic below).

A total of 200 people came to our clinics for a Liver Scan, 88% of whom had Type 2 diabetes and 85% of whom drank less than 10 units of alcohol per week. From this eligible cohort, 1 in 5 were found to have advanced liver scarring or cirrhosis of the liver.

  • 31% had normal scans
  • 21.4% had moderate fibrosis
  • 21.7% had severe fibrosis
  • 6.7% people had cirrhosis

 

 

    We will continue to highlight this silent epidemic and the urgent need for liver screening to become part of routine testing in Type 2 Diabetics by running further clinics in our pharmacies in Autumn 2022.