Obesity is a term that refers to being significantly overweight and carries certain health risks. Most of us are aware of these risks, which include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases such as angina, heart attacks and strokes, and mobility and joint problems such as osteoarthritis, and several cancers. Fewer of us are aware of the damage that fat does to the liver. Central adiposity, indicated by a large waistline, is associated with fat deposition on internal organs, and particularly damages the liver and pancreas. This causes type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD) or ‘fatty liver’. The latter only refers to people who drink either insignificant amounts of alcohol (within safe limits) or not at all and is different from when liver disease is caused by alcohol. A fatty liver can progress to inflammation and damage, and repeated attempts to heal, leading to liver cirrhosis, and sometimes liver failure and liver cancer. These changes usually occur silently, and so sadly are often diagnosed at a late stage when they may be untreatable. Unfortunately, because obesity and type 2 diabetes are so common these days, NAFLD is common and is estimated to affect 25% of the general population. A fifth of these people may develop liver inflammation, some of whom will develop liver cirrhosis, and a smaller number liver cancer. There are no drugs licensed for treating NAFLD and the treatment remains weight loss and physical activity. Information on weight loss is available at https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/lose-weight/ where you can download the free NHS Weight Loss Plan app and learn about referral to the NHS Digital Weight Management Programme. You can also make an appointment with one of our Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) for advice about weight loss if you do not have internet access.
We are pleased to report on a new physiotherapy service which is being offered to East Staffordshire patients – First Contact Physiotherapy. The service has been running for several months and aims to provide an assessment service for uncomplicated musculoskeletal problems, i.e., joint, muscle and tendon problems. These physiotherapists are specially trained to assess and diagnose musculoskeletal problems and advise on the right sort of treatment for the problem. You may well be offered an appointment with a First Contact Physiotherapist if you ring for an appointment and have a suitable problem. Importantly, this does not replace the current physiotherapy service to which patients can be referred after being assessed by a GP but is an alternative to a GP appointment.
Best wishes from the team at Barton.