Have you checked in with your liver lately?

Posted 17 September, 2020
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Have you checked in with your liver lately?

We all have a liver, and it’s quite important, but how often do we really think about it?

Your liver is like a factory. It manufactures, stores and processes everything you put into your body. It breaks down food, alcohol, medicine and toxins.

The liver performs over 500 functions and is the heavyweight in your body. You simply cannot live without it.

Are you at risk?

Major causes of chronic liver disease:

Things that can increase your chance of serious liver disease

  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Co-infection with HIV

What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis can be caused by viruses which damage your liver. Most people feel well even when damage is occurring.

The three most common types of viruses that cause liver inflammation are hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

The good news is there is a:

  • Vaccine for hepatitis A
  • Vaccine for hepatitis B
  • 95% chance of being cured for hepatitis C


Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about any of the following symptoms:

  • feeling unwell and tired all the time
  • tenderness or pain in the liver area
  • itchiness over the whole body, especially at night
  • swelling of the ankles
  • jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
  • unusual or persistent darkening of the urine
  • brain fog or feeling a bit vague

Get your liver checked

You might feel healthy if you have chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C, but it can still seriously damage your liver over time.

Left untreated, some of the things that can happen to your liver are:

  • liver damage (sometimes called fibrosis), which means your liver becomes hard and does not work as well
  • cirrhosis, which means the liver damage has gotten worse and you have a lot of scarring on your liver
  • liver failure, which means your liver stops working liver cancer

Ask your doctor for a hepatitis and liver health check. It could be life-changing.

A liver check-up usually starts with blood tests to measure how the hepatitis is impacting on your liver. Further tests may be required and your doctor will talk you through them.

Tips to look after your liver

You can take several steps to keep your liver healthy, whether or not you have existing liver disease.

These include:

  • Limit alcohol – no more than 2 standard drinks per day with 2 alcohol-free days per week
  • Eat a healthy well-balanced diet
  • Maintain a healthy body weight and get regular exercise
  • Ask about the potential impact of medication and drug use on your liver
  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B

Finding Support

Call the Hepatitis Queensland Infoline on 1800 437 222 or contact us online for more information and support.

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