Q:

Can you get liver disease if you are not an alcoholic?

A:

Quick Answer

There are many types of liver disease not related to the use or abuse of alcohol. Cancer, genetics, exposure to poisons or drugs, and viral infections, such as the various forms of hepatitis, can cause scarring of the liver leading to cirrhosis, warns Medline Plus. Yellowing of the skin, a condition known as jaundice is one of the signs of liver disease.

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Full Answer

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition causing the accumulation of fat in the livers of people who consume little or no alcohol, according to Mayo Clinic. While the condition is common, it does not cause any issues for most who have it. However, it causes scarring in the livers of others. In the most-severe cases, it leads to liver failure.

While alcohol consumption is one risk factor for liver disease, exposure to the blood and body fluids of others is another risk factor. Unprotected sex, sharing intravenous drug needles, tattoos and piercings increase the chances of this type of exposure, indicates Mayo Clinic. People who had blood transfusions prior to 1992 have a higher risk of liver disease. Obesity, diabetes and high triglyceride levels are other risk factors.

Immunizations for hepatitis A and B reduce the risk of liver disease due to these viral infections. Limiting use of drugs and exposure to toxins reduces the load they put on the liver. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of fatty liver disease, reports Mayo Clinic.

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