Reducing Your Risk of Cirrhosis
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You can take several steps to reduce your risk of developing cirrhosis.
Abstain from Alcohol
Alcohol abuse is the most common cause of cirrhosis in the United States (and North America) and at least 75%-80% of cirrhosis cases in North America are related to it . Not all people who abuse alcohol develop cirrhosis.
However, your chances of developing alcohol-related cirrhosis increase:
- the more you drink at each episode
- if you drink a variety of alcoholic beverages
- if you drink frequently
Reduce Your Risk of Contracting Hepatitis
Practice Safe Sex
Hepatitis B and possibly C can be transmitted sexually. To reduce your risk of infection, practice safe sex. This means that men should always use a condom during sexual activity and intercourse. If you are a woman, you should require your male partner(s) to use a condom even if you are using hormonal contraceptives, such as the “pill” or other forms of contraceptives.
Don’t Share Needles
Hepatitis B and C can be transmitted through blood products and through use of contaminated needles and syringes. Avoid using illegal intravenous drugs (IV). If you do use these drugs, don’t share needles or syringes with anyone.
Receive Hepatitis Vaccination
Vaccination against hepatitis B virus is safe and inexpensive. It should be taken especially by certain high-risk groups: all healthcare professionals, people traveling to Third World countries, people with multiple sexual partners, homosexuals, intravenous drug users, and prostitutes.
Ask About Medications
Certain prescription medications can have toxic effects on the liver that vary from person to person. If you are taking these medications, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Be sure to have any recommended tests prior to starting the medication and throughout the course of treatment. These tests can help determine whether the drug is damaging your liver.
American Liver Foundation website. Available at: http://www.liverfoundation.org/ . Accessed March 8, 2006.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/ . Accessed March 7, 2006.
National Library of Medicine website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/ . Accessed March 8, 2006.
Last reviewed July 2008 by ]]>Daus Mahnke, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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