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Reducing Your Risk of Cirrhosis

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 US. Not all people who abuse alcohol develop cirrhosis.

Your chance of developing alcohol-related cirrhosis increases with:

  • The more you drink at each episode
  • If you drink frequently

Abstain from Tobacco

Our liver is the target of many cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco. It is known that people with cirrhosis are at an increased risk of developing liver cancer, which is increased with smoking . Smoking also causes lung disease. This can lead to low oxygen levels in the body. People with low body oxygen have an increased risk of dying after a liver transplant .

Reduce Your Risk of Contracting Hepatitis

Practice Safe Sex

Hepatitis B and hepatitis 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 partner to use a condom even if you are using birth control pills.

Do Not Share Needles

Hepatitis B and C can be transmitted through blood products and through use of contaminated needles and syringes. Avoid using IV drugs. If you do use these drugs, do not share needles or syringes with anyone.

Get Vaccinated Against Hepatitis B

Ask your doctor if you should get vaccinated against hepatitis B.

Treat Non-Infectious Hepatitis

Autoimmune hepatitis and other non-infectious forms of hepatitis may lead to cirrhosis if left untreated. Follow the treatment plan advised by your doctor if you have a non-infectious form of hepatitis.

Screen for Genetic Disease

Once you know that you have a genetic cause of your liver disease, ask your doctor to screen your immediate family.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity is a major cause of liver disease. Eating a healthy diet and getting appropriate exercise are two important steps anyone can take that will reduce the risk for chronic liver disease.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
  • Review Date: 03/2014 -
  • Update Date: 05/19/2014 -
  • Autoimmune hepatitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 24, 2014. Accessed May 19, 2014.

  • Cirrhosis. American Liver Foundation website. Available at: http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/cirrhosis. Updated December 3, 2012. Accessed April 24, 2013.

  • Cirrhosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 27, 2012. Accessed April 24, 2013.

  • Cirrhosis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/cirrhosis/index.aspx. Updated February 21, 2012. Accessed April 24, 2013.

  • Mehta G, Rothstein KD. Health Maintenance Issues in Cirrhosis. Med Clin N Am. 2009;93:901-915.