Isle of Wight part of a study to raise awareness of liver disease due to its population at risk

ITV News Meridian's Richard Slee reports from Newport.

The Isle of Wight has been identified as a location where people are most at risk from liver disease and has been part of a pilot study to raise awareness about the issue.

Over the past two decades, the number of people living with the disease has increased by 50 per cent, so researchers from Southampton University have been testing people in three areas - Newcastle, Hull and in Newport.

So far the findings in these areas, which are defined as 'deprived', show that one in ten people have damaged livers.

Researchers say the results can help shape how we treat the disease and improve treatments available to patients.

A test being conducted to identify if a person suffers from liver disease. Credit: ITV Meridian

The liver is tested using an instrument which pokes or jolts the liver to make it wobble. The more it vibrates the healthier the organ.

When tests are completed scientists can identify those at risk, and early identification can help treatment and survival rates.

There has recently been a big increase in the number of people with liver disease aged under 75.

Numbers increased 50 percent in two decades in mainly deprived areas and more people are dying from the disease.

The vast majority of the disease is caused by alcohol consumption or being overweight.

The researchers say that having two of three alcohol free days every week is really important alongside maintaining a healthy lifestyle, good diet, limiting fatty food intake.

Physical activity and exercise is also really important to prevent disease, they added.