Reducing Your Risk of Cirrhosis
by Alayne Ronnenberg, ScD
You can take several steps to reduce your risk of developing cirrhosis.
Abstain From or Moderate Alcohol Use
Alcohol use disorder is the most common cause of cirrhosis in the US. Not all people who have problems controlling alcohol develop cirrhosis.
Your chance of developing alcohol-related cirrhosis increases with:
Abstain from Tobacco
The liver is the target of many cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco. It is known that people with cirrhosis are at an increased risk of developing liver cancer, which is increased with smoking. Smoking also causes lung diseases. This can lead to low oxygen levels in the body. People with low body oxygen have an increased risk of dying after a liver transplant.
Reduce Your Risk of Contracting Hepatitis
Practice Safe Sex
Hepatitis B and C can be transmitted sexually. To reduce your risk of infection, practice safe sex. This means that men should always use a condom during sexual activity and intercourse. If you are a woman, you should require your partner to use a condom even if you are using birth control pills.
Do Not Share Needles
Hepatitis B and C can be transmitted through blood products and through use of contaminated needles and syringes. Avoid using IV drugs. If you do use these drugs, do not share needles or syringes with anyone.
Get Vaccinated Against Hepatitis B
Ask your doctor if you should get vaccinated against hepatitis B.
Treat Non-Infectious Hepatitis
Autoimmune hepatitis and other non-infectious forms of hepatitis may lead to cirrhosis if left untreated. Follow the treatment plan advised by your doctor if you have a non-infectious form of hepatitis.
Screen for Genetic Disease
Once you know that you have a genetic cause of your liver disease, ask your doctor to screen your immediate family.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is a major cause of liver disease. Eating a healthy diet and getting appropriate exercise are 2 important steps anyone can take that will reduce the risk for chronic liver disease.
Autoimmune hepatitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated July 18, 2014. Accessed March 28, 2017.
Cirrhosis. American Liver Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated December 6, 2016. Accessed March 28, 2017.
Cirrhosis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/cirrhosis. Updated April 2014. Accessed March 28, 2017.
Cirrhosis of the liver. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated January 12, 2017. Accessed March 28, 2017.
Mehta G, Rothstein KD. Health maintenance issues in cirrhosis. Med Clin N Am. 2009;93(4):901-915.
Last reviewed March 2017 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 3/15/2015
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