How to manage my chronic liver disease
*A note from eMed clinicians: most patients with a diagnosis of chronic liver disease or cirrhosis are generally under the care of a hospital consultant. However, you are still very welcome to discuss your concerns with your eMed clinician.
Managing the symptoms of liver disease can be difficult. There is a lot to balance between appointments, diet, medications, and lifestyle changes. Breaking these actions into categories can help make each step more attainable.
Things to avoid
Taking over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements
The liver is responsible for filtering and absorbing different medications. This means that having chronic liver disease can change which medications you can take or the dose recommended of these. This will depend on the type of medication, the severity of your liver disease, and the amount needed. Before taking any prescribed and over-the-counter medication or herbal supplements, make sure that your doctor has approved them.
Eating too much salt
People with liver disease are often told to avoid eating too much salt. This can be hard since food labels can be hard to understand. For example, if a label says “no added salt”, there may still be naturally occurring sodium in the product the manufacturer simply hasn’t added anymore.
Make sure to read the back of the label to see how much salt is present in the food and drinks you buy. Some labels even have red, amber, and green colour coding to give you more information about this. Don’t forget to check the condiments as well!
Alcohol is very harmful to someone with liver disease. It can cause further damage to the liver and surrounding organs. This is because the liver is usually responsible for filtering and metabolizing alcohol. Without a healthy liver, no amount of alcohol is safe to consume.
Living with a chronic health condition can take a toll on your mental health. It’s not uncommon for people to start feeling withdrawn or depressed while dealing with health problems. Try to avoid self-isolation. Make more time to be with your friends and loved ones, even if it’s a calm movie night. Being with the people who care about you is an important part of keeping yourself well.
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