Preventing Liver Disease

The liver is responsible by removing toxins from your blood as well as storing vitamins and minerals. The work the liver does causes it to be susceptible to damage, additionally there is no cure for chronic liver disease which can result serious health effects. Since there is no cure for liver disease, prevention is key.

There is a misconception that only alcoholics are susceptible to liver disease. Although heavy alcohol consumption can cause liver disease and doctors recommend limiting the consumption of alcohol to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men and no alcohol at all if someone is already suffering from liver disease, there are several other causes of liver disease that are unrelated to alcohol consumption.

Besides alcohol consumption, the most common causes of liver disease are:
• Viral hepatitis
• Hemochromatosis
• Diabetes and excess weight
• Gallstones and pancreatitis
• Medications and supplements

Viral Hepatitis

The hepatitis virus can cause inflammation of the liver and can be spread through a variety of ways.

Hepatitis A and E are spread through contaminated food and water or by person-to-person contact. This infection usually doesn’t lead to a chronic condition, but these preventative measures should still be taken:

• wash hands after using the washroom and prior to food preparation

• avoid eating raw or undercooked shellfish

• when in countries that have a high chance of hepatitis
contamination, eat only foods served steaming hot, drink bottled water and avoid ice

• one month prior to travelling consult your doctor regarding vaccinations

Hepatitis B, C, and D are transmitted through blood, sexual contact and childbirth. These infections can lead to chronic hepatitis, thus the following precautions should be taken:

• don’t share needs, razors, toothbrushes, or nail clippers

• practice safe sex

• get the hepatitis B vaccine

• if pregnant, get tested for hepatitis B in order to prevent passing it on to your baby.

Hemochromatosis

This hereditary disorder causes excess iron storage in the liver, which can lead to liver disease if left untreated. The consequences of this disorder can be avoided when the disorder is diagnosed and treated early.

Gallstones and Pancreatitis

Gallstones and pancreatitis can obstruct the ducts connecting the liver to the gallbladder and the pancreas. It is important to have the obstruction removed before it can cause irreparable damage.

Medications and Supplements

Medications can also cause damage to your liver. Some include acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, when taken excessively, anesthetics, seize medications, antibiotics for tuberculosis, and certain cholesterol lowering medication. Also some natural herbs and supplements can be toxic to the liver. It is important that you consult your doctor regarding possible side effects before taking any medications or supplements

References:
http://www.beliefnet.com/healthandhealing/getcontent.aspx?cid=46264