The face of liver disease could be your own

Canadian Liver Foundation urges Canadians to 'face facts' and recognize own risk factors

TORONTO, March 4, 2014 /CNW/ - Most Canadians are oblivious to their own risks of developing liver disease. Unfortunately, this 'who me?' attitude is leading to a rise in complications and deaths due to advanced liver disease. To help change attitudes, the Canadian Liver Foundation is using Liver Health Month to urge Canadians to recognize that liver disease may have many faces - even their own or someone they love.

"If you were to ask people on the street if they thought they needed to worry about liver disease, the answer would typically be 'no'," says Gary Fagan, president of the Canadian Liver Foundation. "This is alarming because liver disease is a much bigger issue in this country than anyone realizes. Unfortunately people don't understand their own risk factors and few have ever been tested."

The Canadian Liver Foundation is launching a campaign called 'Face it' to promote the facts about liver disease and show Canadians that the 'face' of liver disease might be more familiar than they think.
The 'Face It' campaign will use social media to promote liver disease facts under the hashtag #faceliverdisease and will encourage people to visit www.liver.ca/facefacts to learn how to protect themselves and their families.

Currently fatty liver disease, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, liver cancer and alcoholic liver disease are the most common forms of liver disease in Canada. According to the CLF's report, Liver Disease: A Crisis in the Making, deaths from liver disease have risen by almost 30% in a period of only eight years.

"Liver disease is often overlooked and yet every week there are children, teens and adults who are diagnosed with genetic, autoimmune, viral, toxin or obesity-related liver disease," says Mr. Fagan. "There are simple blood tests that can detect problems with the liver but we hear countless stories from people that were stunned to find out they had severe liver disease despite having few, if any, symptoms," says Mr. Fagan. "We want people to face the facts about liver disease before it's too late."

Throughout the month of March, several leading health and wellness experts -- Rose Reisman, Theresa Albert, Bryce Wylde, Stephanie Joanne and Tosca Reno -- will be lending their support to the campaign by helping to dispel the myths and offering liver health advice.

"People are always flabbergasted to learn how many different things can impact your liver health - not the least of which being what you eat," says Theresa Albert, nutritionist, author and member of the CLF's National Board. "One of the best ways to get people thinking beyond the stereotype is asking them 'have you ever'  or ' do you ever' questions about diet,  medication, body art, sex, travel and so on. Once people see how the liver plays a vital role in day-to-day life, they're a step closer to taking action to protect their liver health."

For more information on the Face It campaign and Liver Health Month activities, visit www.liver.ca/facefacts

About the Canadian Liver Foundation
Founded in 1969 by a group of doctors and business leaders concerned about the increasing incidence of liver disease, the Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF) was the first organization in the world devoted to providing support for research and education into the causes, diagnoses, prevention and treatment of all liver disease. Through its chapters across the country, the CLF strives to promote liver health, improve public awareness and understanding of liver disease, raise funds for research and provide support to individuals affected by liver disease.

SOURCE Canadian Liver Foundation

For further information:

Melanie Kearns
416-491-3353 ext. 4923
mkearns@liver.ca