Risk factors are important to know so that you can take steps to prevent liver disease. You do not necessarily need to make huge choices in your life as you consider the list, but instead use it to assess your personal risk level. If you find your risk level is high, however, it may indeed behoove you to alter your choices. Remember that once acquired, liver disease can be both difficult and expensive to treat; plus, once acquired, the liver disease carries the potential for dangerous, even deadly complications. If you are unsure about your risk level in some areas, speak to your doctor to get an accurate indication.
Some diseases are the result of a lifestyle choice. Drinking alcohol, for example, leaves you more susceptible to liver disease. The same can be said of unsafe sex, since many types of viral liver infections (such as hepatitis B and C) are passed through the exchange of body fluids. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is related to obesity, so pairing a sedentary life with an unhealthy diet is another contributing risk factor. Lifestyle choice risk factors are areas in which it is most possible to reduce the risk of liver disease, since a change in behavior can make a large difference. Habits are easiest to follow when set as children, so if you are a parent consider the list of lifestyle choice risks and find ways to reduce your children’s risk early on.
Some diseases, such as hemochromatosis, are inherited. A person’s risk in this regard depends on his or her family history and cannot be changed. People who are known carriers of a disease, for example those with the mutated Wilson’s disease gene, can seek a partner who is not, to ensure their children will not inherit the condition. If you do choose a partner with the condition, be sure your children know about their potential risk as they grow up.
Sometimes, exposure to certain chemicals can raise the likelihood of being diagnosed with liver disease. They can inflame the liver and block the flow of bile. If you work in a dangerous environment, you should always take care to protect yourself from the potential damaging things around you. Be aware of the chemicals you may handle or work near and take precautions, either on your own or through your employer, to ensure your safety.
Often, medication that people perceive as completely innocent is contributing to liver disease. People frequently consume over the counter drugs such as Tylenol and Advil in large quantities because they do not fully understand the negative impact of these drugs on the body. An overdose of these seemingly innocuous painkillers is a leading cause of liver failure.
Sometimes, a medication is directly related to incidents of liver disease. An example of this can be seen with cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which are tied to prescriptions for heart medication and steroid usage.