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The American Liver Foundation Urges All Americans to Pay Attention to Their Liver Every Day of the Year
New York, NY – Urging every American to maintain a healthy liver, the American Liver Foundation (ALF) today observed Liver Awareness Month by releasing 12 tips to combat liver disease, which affects 30 million Americans.
Liver disease, a serious and largely unrecognized problem in the United States, is the 7th leading cause of death among adults between the ages of 25 and 64, taking approximately 27,000 American lives every year, according to ALF. Yet most Americans do not realize that the liver performs hundreds of critical functions every day, such as processing everything that we eat, breathe and absorb through the skin.
“Whether it is due to genetics, a virus, obesity or alcohol, liver disease is always an uninvited, unwelcome guest, and can be life threatening if not controlled,” said Newton Guerin, President and CEO of the American Liver Foundation, “The good news is that many liver diseases are preventable and many more, if detected early, can be treated effectively. That’s why ALF is committed to teaching Americans about good liver health”.
Through its nationwide wellness campaigns, ALF is increasing understanding of the liver and its role in maintaining health for a long life and seeks to make liver wellness part of everyone’s concern, whether or not they have liver disease.
The Foundation’s Liver Wellness program offers the following tips:
Follow directions on all medications and read labels and know the active ingredients, as some medication affect the liver.
Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity or extreme weight gain may increase your risk of fatty liver disease.
Be careful when using aerosol cleaners. Make sure the room is well-ventilated, or wear a mask as all chemicals are absorbed through the skin.
Be careful using all chemicals. That includes insecticides and paint sprays. Wear a mask, and wash your skin thoroughly after use.
Make sure tattooing, piercing and other needles have never been used on anybody else. Contaminated needles can transmit hepatitis A, B and C infection
Avoid sharing razors, toothbrushes, or nail clippers. These have been known to transmit hepatitis C infection.
Don’t use illegal drugs. Street drugs such as cocaine and heroin can severely harm the liver.
Use alcohol responsibly.
Practice safe sex. Unprotected sex and sex with multiple partners increase your risk of hepatitis B and C infection.
Get vaccinated. Vaccines are available for hepatitis A and B.
Get tested if you are at risk for hepatitis B and C. Risk factors include previous blood transfusions, needle use, healthcare professions with patient contact, and high-risk sexual experiences. Hepatitis B and C may cause few or no symptoms, so it’s always best to ask your doctor for tests.
Watch for these symptoms. They could be a sign of liver disease:
Yellow discoloration of the skin or the eyes (jaundice)
Abdominal swelling or pain
Prolonged itching of skin
Very dark urine or pale, bloody, or tar-like stools
Chronic fatigue, nausea, or loss of appetite
Loss of sexual drive or performance
Sleep disturbances or mental confusion
The American Liver Foundation is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization promoting liver health and disease prevention. ALF provides research, education and advocacy for those affected by liver-related diseases including hepatitis. Please visit the American Liver Foundation’s Web site at www.liverfoundation.org.