More awareness of liver disease needed

Particularly common in type 2 diabetes patients
  • Deborah Condon

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a ‘growing and silent epidemic' in Ireland, a leading consultant has warned.

According to Prof Suzanne Norris, a consultant hepatologist at St James's Hospital in Dublin, an increasing number of people with diabetes are being diagnosed with this disease and there is an urgent need to raise awareness of it among the diabetes community.

She noted that awareness of NAFLD is low among the public, but also among healthcare professionals. This is largely because there is a misconception that liver disease ‘is only associated with alcohol abuse'. As a result, there is a stigma attached to the disease.

"This could not be further from the truth and it is critically important that this misconception is highlighted for the benefit of all people with type 2 diabetes and/or obese individuals in Ireland.

"The fact is, NAFLD is a common condition that affects up to 25% of the adult population and is particularly common in type 2 diabetes patients. It has become the most common cause of chronic liver disease in developed countries," Prof Norris explained.

As the name suggests, NAFLD is different to liver disease caused by excessive alcohol intake. It is common in people with type 2 diabetes, high BMIs and/or those who consume a high intake of fat and sugar, commonly referred to as the ‘Western diet'.

"After assessing more than 400 patients with NAFLD, we discovered that one out of four patients had advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis. In addition, one out of three of these patients had type 2 diabetes. We need to raise awareness among the diabetes community," Prof Norris said.

To coincide with World Diabetes Day (November 14), Prof Norris will present on the topic of NAFLD at the Diabetes Ireland AGM and Education Meeting in Dublin city on November 12.

NAFLD screening will be carried out at this event using the innovative FibroScan
Technology - a 10-minute non-invasive, pain-free test. This screening will be provided free of charge on the day and during the week of World Diabetes Day at Liver Wellness Clinics in Dublin.

Diabetes Ireland members interested in availing of a free FibroScan
assessment can provide their details to Liver Wellness at the Diabetes Ireland AGM and education meeting or can email to apply for a free screen. A total of 50 free FibroScan assessments will be provided.

The Diabetes Ireland AGM and Education Meeting takes place on Sunday, November 12, at Chartered Accountants House, 47-49 Pearse Street, Dublin 2, from 2pm to 4.30pm. A number of experts will present on a range of topics, including the latest type 1 diabetes research, diabetes distress and app technology. Anyone with an interest in diabetes is welcome to attend and no booking is necessary.

For more information, click here



Thelma Thiel355 - 11/11/2017 16:43

The Missing Link in dealing with obesity is educating children in schools about WHY and HOW to protect their miraculous life sustaining liver. Unfortunately, most teachers are uninformed themselves as well as parents.. contributing to the development of liver related illnesses including obesity, fatty liver, diabetes, high cholesterol and drug and alcohol misuse and abuse.. . that are preventable.


Food is the fuel their liver needs to perform mini chemical miracles converting it into hundreds of essential life supporting body functions 24/7.


Excess carbs, sugar and fats can clog up the process causing the liver to slow down and eventually shut down. This happens without warning as the liver is a non complaining organ. A protruding belly or derriere is a warning that your liver is struggling to handle what you are feeding it and dumping the excess fats throughout your body,


The choice is yours. Learn TODAY about why it is critical that you and your children change their unhealthy dietary habits now before the damage is beyond repair.  Thelma King Thiel – founder and Chair, Liver Health Initiative –

Nickname: to be used for all future posts.
Notification: Tick this box if you wish to receive e-mail notifications of further posts on this topic