Does hepatitis increase your risk for COVID-19? Tips for healthy liver during this pandemic

The collapsing health due to COVID-19 infection induces systemic damage in the body that attacks the vital organs of the body that leads to high morbidity and mortality rate. Liver is one such organs that also gets affected by this infection. Though COVID-19 affects individuals of any age groups, the seniors and elders with serious underlying medical conditions, including hepatitis B and hepatitis C develop multiple manifestations like respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurologic, and hepatic complications.

We all know that there are no approved therapies to treat COVID-19 other than supportive care. Individuals with elevated liver biochemistries may require hospitalization and treatment with therapeutic agents to manage COVID-19 symptoms. But, people who have a liver injury with mild COVID-19 symptoms, don’t require treatment other than specialized medical care.

Here in this article, we discuss a few healthy tips you can follow to keep the liver healthy during this pandemic. So, keep reading the post! 

Can COVID-19 change your liver biochemistries?

According to the reports, individuals with COVID-19 may show asymptomatic abnormalities in hepatic biochemical test or can have rare acute liver failure. In the present circumstances, it is unclear to debate on this topic as the elevated hepatic differences might also be due to several other reasons as well.

Also, the increased liver enzymes like alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) are noticed in some COVID-19 hospitalized patients.  This states that patients have briefly damaged the liver. More research and data are required to support, whether COVID-19 patients with a compromised liver condition can suffer from liver damage.

What signs indicate the worsening of liver disease?

The signs and symptoms showing worsening liver disease include:

  • Severity in jaundice

  • Swelling in the leg

  • Mental confusion

  • Excessive drowsiness

  • Ascites

  • Blood in the stool

Do individuals with hepatitis B and C more vulnerable to COVID-19

Till date, there are no data to support whether the individuals with liver ailments are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 infections. However, experts say that individuals dealing with any chronic medical conditions, including hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can exhibit serious complications to COVID-19 infection, if values are not well-controlled.

How individuals with HBV and HCV can protect themselves from COVID-19?

The patients with severe underlying and co-morbid medical conditions are emphasized to follow the established guidelines put forth by the government to reduce the risk of getting infected with COVID-19. To help you with, here’s the list of a few preventive measures to safeguard yourself from COVID-19 crisis:

  • Never put off your regular task of refilling the prescription medicines and take it on time

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  • Get your regular blood routine done promptly

  • Preserve a healthy lifestyle

  • Implement good respiratory/cough etiquette

  • Wear a mask when you head out in public

  • Practice physical distancing in both indoor and outdoor spaces

  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands

  • Stay home if you are sick

  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep every day

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol rub

  • Book an appointment before you make any clinic visit and while you head out take good measures to protect yourself from getting infected with the virus

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Tips to boost your liver health during pandemic times:

Strengthening your immune system with extra care is a challenging chore throughout this pandemic season. Its importance has been realized more since the recent pandemic and its enduring existence. Individuals with HBV and HCV infection should maintain a healthy lifestyle to have a healthy liver thus curbing the chances of falling ill during this COVID-19 crisis. Here are a few tips you need to consider for a stronger immune system during the global health emergency.

  • Get vaccinated for hepatitis B and hepatitis C

  • Stay physically active at home for 20 to 40 minutes daily

  • Be strategic while choosing the ingredients to improve liver health. Check the nutrition label before picking any products for a healthy liver.

  • Prepare healthy and nutritious home-cooked meals, as hepatitis infection is foodborne

  • Watch out for un-authorized herbs or over-the-counter medicine intake, as these may hurt your liver health

  • Be aware of portion size, as overeating increases the risk of obesity and leads to non-alcoholic liver disease

  • Avoid or limit alcohol consumption and smoking

  • Don’t indulge in oily and fatty foods

  • Add more of green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil in your diet

Chronic liver disease is one of the major disease burdens globally. Patients with COVID-19 presenting chronic medical conditions including liver disease must take possible precautions and follow a healthy lifestyle to prevent getting severely ill.  To maintain optimal liver health and to prevent decompensated cirrhosis, individuals must have a complete-balanced diet, timely vaccination for hepatitis B and hepatitis C and try staying physically active especially during this pandemic times.  

Stay safe, stay active, and stay healthy!