Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Cirrhosis: Sodium and Ascites
If you have cirrhosis, you may need to reduce your sodium intake by eating less salt. You'll feel better and will lower your risk of complications.
Fluid buildup in the belly (ascites) and legs (edema) is one of the most common complications of cirrhosis. Sodium adds to this problem by causing your body to retain water. It increases fluid buildup in your belly as well as your legs and lungs. Aside from being uncomfortable, this fluid buildup can lead to trouble breathing, infection, and other problems.
Limiting sodium in your diet helps prevent your body from retaining extra fluid. It will make you feel better and may prevent or delay complications such as ascites and breathing difficulties.
Eating less sodium doesn't have to be hard, but you do have to think about it. Salt is in many foods, so limiting your salt intake means more than just not using the salt shaker. Packaged (processed) foods and restaurant foods are usually quite high in salt.
You may want to visit with a dietitian to help you get started or to find more ways to cut down on salt and eat a healthy diet.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Send Us Your Feedback
North Kansas City Hospital