Liver disease - NHS

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Liver disease

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:

Table showing the most common types of liver disease and the possible causes
Condition Possible causes
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

Find out more about the flu vaccine


Coronavirus advice

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.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if you have symptoms of cirrhosis, such as:

Other symptoms may include itchy skin, or feeling or being sick.


Coronavirus update: how to contact a GP

It's still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

  • visit their website
  • use the NHS App
  • call them

Find out about using the NHS during coronavirus


If you or your child has been diagnosed with liver disease, the or can also offer advice and support.

How to prevent liver disease

The three main causes of liver disease are:

You can reduce your risk of many types of liver disease with some simple lifestyle changes:

There are vaccines available for two types of hepatitis. These are recommended if you're at risk. Read about:


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.

Read about the risks of drinking too much.

Page last reviewed: 9 October 2017
Next review due: 9 October 2020