In 2014 I started having a slight pain on my right side below my ribs. I went to have it checked out back then, but the doctors thought it was a minor strain - probably related to just having moved house.
I’ve still got that slight pain and decided to have it checked out again. It was prompted by reading an article saying men are likely to ignore going to the doctor and end up putting a significant burden on their wives as their health deteriorates. I didn’t want to do that, so off I went to demand a second opinion. I’m glad I did, this time the tests came back to say I had stage two liver disease.
I was scared but also relieved to have a diagnosis.
The next thing they tell you is which type of liver disease.
There are three ways to get liver disease: obesity, hepatitis or alcohol misuse. I have the obesity one, which is also known as “Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease”.
So I’m at stage two. The stages are:
- Simple fatty liver - 1 in 3 people have this, and it’s mostly harmless
- non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (1 in 20 have this) - here the liver becomes inflamed, and symptoms arise
- fibrosis - scar tissue appears on the liver from persistent inflammation
- cirrhosis - the liver shrinks, possibly leading to liver failure and potentially death
The great news is that it is reversible at stage two, provided get to a healthy weight then your liver will recover in time.
However, if I don’t do that quickly, then I could become one of the 62,000 that die each year from it in the UK.
When I found out, I weighed 105Kg, way way way over the recommended weight range for a man of my age and height. I’d been around 100Kg for about ten years, so I’m the perfect candidate to develop this disease.
So what am I going to do about it?
Well, here’s what I’ve done for the last six weeks, which has got me off to a good start:
- Aim to lose 5kg every six weeks
- Go for a run at least two times a week
- Use calorie counting to keep my eating habits in check
- Stop using lifts
- Have at most one night a week with alcohol consumption
I’ve read probably everything you can about losing weight over the years. Previously my motivations were more around vanity, looking good for summer, having fashionable clothes. Eventually, I’d burn out of motivation as I wasn’t that unhappy with my appearance.
This time it’s a lot more serious, and I have to keep the motivation to get healthy and stay that way. I’d prefer not to add to that growing liver deaths statistic.
If you see me, please ask me how I’m doing. I hope by making this public, I can get extra motivation by folks keeping me honest.