Liver disease is on a dramatic upswing throughout the country and it’s not because people are drinking more heavily.
“Prior to 2016, it was 1 in 10 Canadians were diagnosed with liver disease. Now, it’s 1 in 4. It’s now accounting for the increase of Hepatitis C cases actually being diagnosed,” said Bianca Pengelly of the Manitoba Regional Coordinator of the Canadian Liver Foundation.
“It also counts for the non-alcoholic, fatty liver disease, basically obesity rates are just sky rocketing.”
While not drinking or doing drugs does help prevent people from damaging their livers or developing liver disease, it’s not a guarantee, said Pengelly.
“People think they’re not going to have liver disease if they don’t touch a drink of alcohol or do drugs. I never drank or did drugs. I was born with liver disease.”
She said liver disease is a difficult illness to manage.
“I was lucky that I was able to get a liver transplant when I was 18-months-old,” she said. “There are certain limitations. I need to get blood work done pretty often. I was on a lot of medication. Thankfully, not as many today.
“If your liver is hurting, your body is hurting.”
In an effort to raise awareness about liver disease and its effects, residents throughout Manitoba will be participating in ‘The Stroll for Liver’ over the next couple of weeks.
One is taking place in Lac du Bonnet Aug. 11. Another will be held in Ste. Agathe, just south of Winnipeg Aug. 25.
Anyone who wants to take part is welcome. People can find more information on their website.
WATCH: Stroll for Liver coming to Manitoba Communities