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Living Well With Liver Disease

Vaccinations
Having a liver disease can increase your risk of catching infectious diseases and developing serious symptoms. The best way to protect yourself is to keep up to date with any vaccinations such as the flu, pneumococcal and COVID19.

Talk to your doctor or liver specialist to check if vaccinations are right for you.

Nutrition
Eating a balanced diet is one of the most important ways to keep yourself well. Following the Mediterranean pattern of eating can reduce the progression of fatty liver even in the absence of significant weight loss.

Focus on healthy whole foods and very few processed foods, including: (include Qld health image)

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Wholegrain bread and cereals
  • Legumes and beans
  • Less red meat, more fish

Read more about the Med diet

More nutrition tips:

  • Choose water as your main drink
  • Use smaller plates and bowls to help reduce portion sizes
  • Plan your meals to avoid the temptation to have takeaway

Weight loss
If you have liver disease keeping to a healthy weight is an important part of helping your body stay well and preventing complications. Being overweight can speed up liver damage and even make some treatments less effective. Research shows losing 3-10% of your body weight can have an impact on liver disease.

It’s important that you talk to your doctor or specialist first. Depending on the type of liver disease you may need to make special considerations or be referred to allied support services.

Exercise

  • Aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day
  • You don’t have to run marathons or join a gym. Choose an exercise you can do often and find easy and enjoyable.
  • You can talk to your doctor about getting referred to an exercise physiologist

Ideas to get moving:

  • Walking is a great way to get started. There are many walking groups you can join or even videos you can follow online.
  • Council swimming pools are a low-cost option for swimming laps or aqua aerobics classes.
  • Explore a bush trail with a friend
  • Join a dance class

Alcohol
Drinking alcohol when you already have existing liver damage can worsen your condition.

While the Australian Alcohol Guidelines provide advice on keeping the risk from alcohol low, however, these guidelines may not be suitable for someone with liver disease.

Check with your doctor whether it is safe for you to drink any alcohol and how much. Read more about alcohol and your liver

Smoking
It’s no surprise that smoking is bad for anyone’s health, however, if you have a liver condition smoking increases your risk of further liver damage, scarring and liver cancer.

There are many different ways you can reduce or quit smoking. Learn about the different methods to see what might work best for you.

Herbal supplements
The benefit and quality of over-the-counter herbal supplements can vary greatly, even for those without liver disease.

As they may be toxic to your liver or cause any treatments to be less effective, it is important to talk to your doctor or liver specialist before taking any herbal supplements.

Filters the good stuff that your body can use, and gets rid of the things that are no use or are harmful (alcohol, toxins etc)

Makes and stores vitamins and minerals

Assists in hormone production which helps to regulate our mental health

Regulates your energy levels by storing and releasing sugars

Helps fight infections in your body

To keep your liver in tip-top shape, so it can do all the heavy lifting your body needs:

Eat a balanced diet

Exercise regularly

Use alcohol responsibly

Ask your GP for a liver check

  • Liver disease (to link)
  • Alcohol and your liver (to link)
  • Preventing liver disease (to link)
  • Living well with liver disease (to link)
  • Other diseases and the liver (to link)
  • Liver health FAQs (to link)

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