There are many different types of liver disease. You can help prevent some of them by maintaining a healthy weight and staying within the recommended alcohol limits, if you drink.
Types of liver disease
Some of the most common types of liver disease include:
|Alcohol-related liver disease||regularly drinking too much alcohol|
|Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease||being very overweight (obese) – this may cause fat to build up in the liver|
|Hepatitis||catching a viral infection, regularly drinking too much alcohol|
|Haemochromatosis||a gene that runs in families and may be passed from parents to children|
|Primary biliary cirrhosis||may be caused by a problem with the immune system|
Get the flu vaccine
Flu can be very serious if you have liver disease. Ask for your free flu jab at:
- your GP surgery
- a local pharmacy that has a flu vaccine service
Get advice about coronavirus and liver disease from the British Liver Trust
Symptoms of liver disease
Most types of liver disease don't cause any symptoms in the early stages.
Once you start to get symptoms of liver disease, your liver is already damaged and scarred. This is known as cirrhosis.
See a GP if you have symptoms of cirrhosis, such as:
- feeling very tired and weak all the time
- loss of appetite – which may lead to weight loss
- loss of sex drive (libido)
- yellow skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
Other symptoms may include itchy skin, or feeling or being sick.
If you or your child has been diagnosed with liver disease, the British Liver Trust or Children's Liver Disease Foundation can also offer advice and support.
How to prevent liver disease
The three main causes of liver disease are:
- an undiagnosed hepatitis infection
- alcohol misuse
You can reduce your risk of many types of liver disease with some simple lifestyle changes:
- try to maintain a healthy weight for your height
- avoid drinking too much alcohol
There are vaccines available for two types of hepatitis. These are recommended if you're at risk.
You don't have to be an alcoholic to risk damaging your health by drinking. Regularly drinking just over the recommended levels can be harmful.