Alcohol Concern and British Liver Trust launch January campaigns

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Two national charities have launched different campaigns urging people to cut down on their alcohol consumption.

Alcohol Concern is urging drinkers to shun alcohol for January, with benefits which it says include saving money, losing weight and feeling healthier.

But the British Liver Trust said people should follow its recommendations throughout the year, including taking 2-3 days off alcohol every week.

Liver disease is now the fifth biggest cause of death in the UK.

The British Liver Trust said it was on the rise because British culture continues to embrace daily consumption of alcohol, fatty food choices and a lack of exercise.

'Three-step plan'

It has launched its second Love Your Liver awareness campaign, to be led by a nationwide roadshow of "pop-up" liver health clinics.

The trust's chief executive, Andrew Langford, said: "It's not about a quick fix in January, to repair the liver and keep it healthy, people need to follow our three-step plan all-year round: 1) Take two to three days off alcohol every week; 2) get regular exercise; 3) cut down on sugar and fat."

The trust is also urging the government to make early liver screening available to everyone at risk.

Early testing is critical because there are no early warning signs, the trust said.

"Our Love Your Liver campaign offers free screenings to the public... offering free Fibroscan tests which help identify the early warning signs and practical advice about how to love your liver.

"However, we can only reach a very small group of people and we're appealing for the government to do more," said Mr Langford.

Meanwhile, Alcohol Concern has launched its Dry January campaign, urging people to take a month off drinking alcohol.

The charity said it wanted to get people thinking and talking about their drinking, and it hoped these conversations would continue long after this month.

'Unacceptable' statistics

Government ministers are proposing a minimum price of 45p a unit for the sale of alcohol in England and Wales as part of a drive to tackle problem drinking.

Health Minister Dan Poulter said: "It is unacceptable that over the past decade deaths from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis have increased by around 20%.

"Early identification of diseases such as liver disease will be a key priority for the NHS commissioning board.

"All three major causes of liver disease: obesity, undiagnosed infection, and harmful drinking are preventable, which is why the government is taking comprehensive action to tackle the issue, through the introduction of minimum unit pricing, and we will be introducing an alcohol consumption level check into the NHS Healthcheck for patients this year."

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