When you have cirrhosis, it's important to know how to keep yourself healthy.
This is called self-care.
Living with cirrhosis is hard.
It can make you feel really tired so it can be harder to keep moving and stay active.
But it's important to try, even though it's hard.
Most people with cirrhosis can and should exercise regularly.
Check with your doctor to make sure it's safe for you to exercise.
Then, plan an activity program.
It'll help you build muscle and have more energy.
And it'll even help your mood.
Your activity program can be as simple as walking 10 to 20 minutes at a time.
You can start by walking a few days a week and build up to every day.
You can also add resistance and balance exercises to keep up your strength.
Resistance exercises use weights, elastic bands, or your own body weight.
You'll find exercise videos on this website and at wellnesstoolbox.ca.
The important thing to remember is, keep moving!
To keep active and stay a healthy weight, you'll need to be careful about how and what you eat.
Eat the right amount of protein and calories.
You can lose muscle if you don't get enough protein.
Lower the amount of salt you eat.
Salt can cause fluid build-up in your body.
Eat often and in small amounts, about every 3 to 4 hours while you're awake.
Have a snack before bed and eat a good breakfast as soon as you get up.
It'll help you stay strong.
Drink as much water as you want, unless your healthcare team tells you how much fluid to drink.
If you follow this advice, you'll help your body work better and longer.
Your healthcare team will do their best for you.
But they need your help too.
This means learning about your disease, so you can do the best job of caring for yourself.
Learn about your medicines, what they're for and how much to take.
And know which medicines to avoid.
Keep appointments with your family doctor and liver specialist.
They'll tell you what tests you need, like blood tests and ultrasounds to look at your liver.
You may also need an endoscopy to look down your esophagus, your food pipe, and into your stomach.
Share what you learn about cirrhosis with your family and friends.
You'll need their support.
And they can help you watch for emergency warning signs.
Know which warning signs mean you should go to the emergency department.
These includes throwing up blood or something that looks like coffee grounds, and black bowel movements.
These are signs of bleeding inside your body.
There are other warning signs that your family or friends can help watch for, like if you're confused or having trouble waking up, talking, walking, or following directions.
These are warning signs of a build-up of toxins.
Also watch for signs of an infection, like a fever, feeling sick to your stomach, throwing up, or sharp belly pain that doesn't go away.
Keeping your appointments and knowing these warning signs are very important parts of your self-care.
Living with cirrhosis takes a lot of strength and focus.
But you can still live a full life.
Do your best to manage your disease.
And keep moving!
You can find more videos and information about living with cirrhosis at cirrhosiscare.ca and MyHealth.Alberta.ca.