Is your liver at risk?
by the American Liver Foundation
You are at risk for liver damage or disease if:
• You are exposed to blood or bodily fluids on the job.
• You are regularly exposed to toxins or chemicals such as aerosol cleaners, bug spray, paint fumes and tobacco smoke.
• You have injected drugs, especially if you shared a needle.
• You have had frequent, unprotected sex with multiple partners.
• You have had a tattoo or piercing with an unsterile needle.
• You consume alcohol. Even moderate amounts of alcohol can have toxic effects, especially when taken with over-the-counter drugs containing acetaminophen.
• You use certain herbs or herbal remedies. Mega doses of vitamins can also cause liver damage.
• You have certain conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, or high triglycerides.
• You received a blood transfusion before 1992. You may be at risk for hepatitis C.
• You are a military veteran, especially a Vietnam-era veteran who was exposed to someone else's blood.
• You have ever had an abnormal liver function test.
If you can answer yes to any of the statements above, you should see your doctor and ask for a liver enzyme test. It's painless, and most importantly it's dangerous to wait.
Why should you care about your liver?
Because the liver performs over 5,000 important functions every minute of the day to keep your body going.
• Your liver converts food into nutrients and stores vitamins, minerals and sugars.
• The liver detoxifies substances that are harmful to the body.
• A healthy liver is essential to a healthy life.
How can you keep your liver healthy?
• Avoid putting yourself at risk for hepatitis and other liver diseases.
• Be careful about what you eat, drink, and breathe, because everything gets filtered by your liver.
Consult your doctor if you think you have any risk factors for liver disease and ask about the vaccines for hepatitis A and B. If you do have liver disease, there are specialists who can help you.
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