for Veterans and the Public
Keeping your liver healthy - Liver Basics
Here are some things to remember about keeping your liver healthy:
- Don't have unsafe sex (always use condoms).
- Don't inject drugs like heroin or cocaine.
- Don't drink alcohol. Alcohol is a poison to the liver and also can make liver diseases such as hepatitis much worse. If you do drink, drink lightly.
- Don't share any personal items such as razors or toothbrushes that might have blood on them.
- Ask your VA doctor about getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and B. There is currently no vaccine against the hepatitis C virus.
- Follow strict food safety guidelines. Make sure that the water you drink and the food you eat are clean, especially when traveling to other countries. Most cases of infection with hepatitis A result from poor cleanliness during food preparation.
- If you take any medications, make sure your doctor knows about them. Also tell your doctor about any over-the-counter medicines, supplements, and natural or herbal remedies that you use. Certain medicines taken at the same time can cause damage to your liver, even if you can buy them without a prescription.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Control blood sugars if you have diabetes.
- Keep cholesterol and blood fats within the recommended range. Ask your VA health care provider for advice on doing this.