Q:

How can I prevent liver disease?

A:

Quick Answer

Limiting alcohol consumption, using medications judiciously, avoiding illegal intravenous drug use and unprotected sex, and receiving preventive vaccinations are some ways to prevent liver disease, according to Mayo Clinic. Maintaining a healthy weight also helps ward off liver disease.

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How can I prevent liver disease?
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Full Answer

Excessive, long-term alcohol consumption puts an extra strain on the liver as it attempts to metabolize the alcohol and rid the body of toxins, explains the Canadian Liver Foundation. Over time, heavy alcohol use can cause damage to liver cells, scarring or inflammation of the liver, a buildup of fat in the liver, or liver cancer. Using alcohol in moderation helps prevent liver damage.

Taking too much medication or combining medications improperly can cause damage to the liver. Over-the-counter medications, prescription medications and supplements can cause liver toxicity under certain conditions, notes the Canadian Liver Foundation. Only taking medications that are necessary and following dosing instructions helps prevent liver toxicity due to medications and supplements, says Mayo Clinic.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver often caused by a virus. Consumption of contaminated foods causes hepatitis A, and contact with contaminated bodily fluids causes hepatitis B and hepatitis C, explains KidsHealth. Sharing needles during illicit drug use and engaging in unprotected sex can expose individuals to hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Vaccines are available that provide protection from hepatitis A and B, notes Mayo Clinic.

Obesity can cause fatty liver disease, notes Mayo Clinic. Keeping weight in check minimizes this risk.

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