Your liver is about the size of a football and sits under your lower ribcage on the right side. It has several important things to do. It helps clean your blood by getting rid of harmful chemicals that your body makes. It makes a liquid called bile, which helps you break down fat from food. And it also stores sugar called glucose, which gives you a quick energy boost when you need it.
Don’t drink a lot of alcohol. It can damage liver cells and lead to the swelling or scarring that becomes cirrhosis, which can be deadly.
Eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. Your liver will thank you. You’ll keep your weight under control, which helps prevent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition that leads to cirrhosis.
Watch out for certain medicines. Some cholesterol drugs can occasionally have a side effect that causes liver problems. The painkiller acetaminophen (Tylenol) can hurt your liver if you take too much.
Get tested for viral hepatitis. Because it often doesn’t cause symptoms, you can have it for years and not know it. If you think you’ve had contact with the virus, talk to your doctor to see if you need a blood test.