Living Well With Hepatitis
Living Well with Hepatitis B or C
Staying As Healthy As Possible Helps People Live Better With Hepatitis B or C. Staying Healthy Also Helps Avoid Additional Liver Problems Such As Fatty Liver Disease.
The liver is the largest organ in your body and is in your upper right hand side protected by the ribs.
The liver does over 500 tasks in a day which include:
- Producing bile to help digest fats
- Making proteins for the blood
- Turning excess glucose into glycogen for energy storage and later release
- Regulating blood clotting
- Working as part of the immune system
- Breaking down toxins and drugs
Over many years, hepatitis B or C can cause irreversible damage to your liver, such as:
- Fibrosis – Light scarring of the liver
- Cirrhosis – Severe scarring of the liver
- Liver Cancer
Poor diet, alcohol and drugs can also damage your liver, which is why it is important to look after your health if you are living with hepatitis B or C.
Making lifestyle changes can reduce the impacts of hepatitis by:
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Maintaining a healthy diet and body weight
- Exercising sensibly
- Managing stress
- Getting enough rest
- Stopping smoking, tobacco & cannabis
Mostly, food that is good for the liver is part of a healthy and balanced diet. People affected by hepatitis B or C are more susceptible to liver disease and by eating healthy food you will be giving your liver the opportunity to function at its best. Additionally, enjoying a healthy diet can help to:
- Relieve some of the symptoms related to hepatitis B or C
- Boost your immune system
- Give your body the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy liver
For a healthy well balanced diet eating the right amount of:
- Kilojoules - maintaining a healthy weight
- Fibre to keep your digestive tract healthy
- Eating small amounts of fat
To find out more visit Australian Guide to Healthy Eating https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-guide-healthy-eating
One of the liver’s many jobs is to filter or break down anything you put into your body. Some specific foods and medications may stay in your system too long and may harm your liver more.
There are some food and medications that are best to avoid such as:
What to avoid
Raw or undercooked shellfish
A high risk of contamination from a variety of organisms that can cause gastroenteritis or hepatitis A
Risk of contamination from a variety of organisms
Fats and oils
An excessive amount can increase the risk of developing diet-related cardiovascular disease
Medications and supplements
Some medications may cause harmful reactions and liver problems, always check with your doctor before taking any medications or supplements
Some people with hepatitis B or C who have developed cirrhosis may have specific dietary requirements for protein, salt and fluid intake. Speak to your doctor or dietician for further guidance.
Alcohol is a toxin. It is broken down by the liver, but it can cause a build-up of fat in the liver which can eventually lead to cirrhosis. There is a much higher risk of developing cirrhosis if you have hepatitis B or C and you drink alcohol. It is recommended that people living with hepatitis B or C reduce their alcohol intake or stop drinking. If you choose to drink limit yourself to moderate amounts.
Drinking water is important for maintaining a healthy liver. The Australian Guidelines recommend that adults should drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day plus more if engaging in physical activity or out in hot weather.
Exercising has many benefits and is an important part of maintaining a healthy body, which is needed for good liver health.
The general dietary information provided here is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor, specialist, dietician or nutritionist.
Australian Guide to Healthy Eating: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-guide-healthy-eating
Hepatitis Australia: https://www.hepatitisaustralia.com/hepatitis-c-guide-to-healthy-living