Sea air and liver disease : This may... - British Liver Trust

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Sea air and liver disease

16 Replies

This may seem a very random question, but I wondered if anyone lives by the sea, regularly exercises on the beach or swims, rows or does some boating activity?! If so, has inhaling the salty air had any adverse affect upon your liver disease in terms of fluid retention, sudden change in diuretic dose etc.

I’m asking as I have recently had a very small win in that my fluid has very suddenly resolved to some extent. My diuretic was reduced and I put on a lot of fluid weight immediately, after some weeks however there was a change and my body somehow kicked into action and this has gone, as proven by ultrasound at the weekend.

I am obviously trying to maintain my health as much as possible both physically and mentally and wanted to prevent a reoccurrence, therefore any thoughts on the benefits opposed to any risks, if there are any, would be much appreciated.

The reason, I ask is because inhaled saline has to be thought about in those with all sorts of pathologies, as well as liver disease, on diuretics etc. I am unsure if sea air would have the same precautions but it can seem very salty on a windy day!

Thanks so much x

16 Replies
Positive001 profile image

Interesting theory but l would have no idea xx

in reply to Positive001

Thanks Laura x

AyrshireK profile image

My hubby has cirrhosis and has never had ascites (thank goodness) and he's never needed to be on diuretics either. We spend a lot of time on the coast - mainly walking - and I can't say we've seen any issues.

A few of the ladies on the AIH forum (who I think also have progressed as far as cirrhosis) are open water / sea swimmers including one brave soul who goes in frequently off the coast of Orkney (brrr). None of these ladies have mentioned any issues with ascites.


in reply to AyrshireK

That’s very good to know! I’ve really struggled with ascites and this is the first time I’ve managed on a much reduced diuretic, which I’m hoping I will be totally off of soon. It’s such an awful symptom that I didn’t want to do anything that makes it worse again!

I only thought about it as the taste of salt almost felt like it was burning my mouth when I was running. I started wearing a loose fitting mask. I know that sea air can affect asthma, just as an inhaled saline nebuliser might do in those who are affected. I suppose the salt content in the air would have to be fairly high to affect fluid retention.

Thanks so much. I wish I was brave enough to do wild/ sea swimming! Orkney sounds idyllic, she must feel wonderful after doing that. x

I remember reading a few years ago about someone on a mountain being able to smell the sea air that was hundreds of miles away. I don't think that is scientific, but having lived by the sea for most of my life, I'd recognise the smell of the sea anywhere. At the time it did interest me and I'm sure I read that salt from the sea has been found a long way inland. Storms and high winds probably carry it completely across the uk.

But it must be higher in concentrations around the coast. How much that affects us? who knows, I'm not sure if any studies have been done on the subject. but to echo what Positive001 has said.... it is interesting.

in reply to

Yes you definitely can smell it in land on certain days. Mentally for me, there is nothing better or that feels more healing than the wilds of the sea. I suppose it is weighing up the risks and benefits and waiting to see what happens.

I thought I was heading for another drain but very suddenly my body got rid of it all! I had been feeling dreadful for weeks, feeling worse and worse progressively. Now however, I feel almost “normal “ on more and more days very suddenly. Being outside makes me feel more like myself.

My skin and hair is always covered in salt after exercising on the beach so I was concerned that there must be a fair bit entering my lungs and having to be processed. Whatever is happening, the sea lifts my spirits and determination to improve. Thanks so much for your reply x

JanetH67 profile image

I live about 75feet from the Atlantic Ocean and I’ve never had any issues with fluid retention. Your question/reflection about this is interesting. My PBC induced cirrhosis has taken me all the way to *lucky you survived esophageal bleed* & transplant eval 3 years ago but “not sick enough” but I’ve never had any ascites. This is an interesting query. Hmmmm.

in reply to JanetH67

Hi, it just made me think, as the salt taste has been so strong, so my body is definitely having to process something! I wouldn’t eat food that tasted like this as I’d know I was having too much salt.

It was just a thought as I am pretty sure that regular saline nebuliser use, has to be prescribed with some consideration if needed in someone with fluid issues. I suppose if I know that the air concentration of salt is lower than that, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue! I’m literally going to weigh myself daily as I do when I reduce diuretics to see if there’s a trend over a couple of weeks. I have had to be so careful over the last 18 months with diet as I have not been able to cope with even the minimal amounts of salt.

I’m guessing if someone has never been decompensated, it may not be as much of a problem, if there is one of course, but we know that all struggling livers don’t like salt! I’m sure I’m just overthinking!

My GP is very good but understandably when I asked, there was a very long and very quiet pause in our conversation, so I quickly moved on as it was so awkward 🥴

TN-Nurse profile image

Hi! My son has cirrhosis and we live directly on the beach. No adverse affects. Only issue doctor warned him about is not getting into any type water if he has an open wound. Could lead to infection. Otherwise, we have a boat, kayak and do all sorts of outdoor activities on the beach and ocean.

in reply to TN-Nurse

Thank you that’s also really good to know.

in reply to TN-Nurse

Also, I forgot to add, I’m glad you mentioned not going in the sea with a cut etc. I’d thought about swimming pools, but I hadn’t thought about the sea!

TN-Nurse profile image
TN-Nurse in reply to

So much to think about. I know it’s exhausting at times. Something so simple.

Charlie-legs profile image

I was a professional ballet dancer, born and bred in. Birkenhead on the Wirral. Surrounded by the Sea. My career took me to landlocked Stuttgart Germany. The company physiotherapist was English. He told me that the lack of sea air being the norm for me, the mineral makeup of the body. I looked it up and I believe he had a point. Iodine deficiency I think but I've been very drunk since then so I may have got that from a pink elephant. You can't beat a good sea breeze


in reply to Charlie-legs

😊 that’s a really interesting point. If you are born and bred somewhere it must have some influence on your health. Air quality definitely does at times. Some asthmatics react the same as if they were given a higher percentage of salt in a nebuliser, so if the sea air is enough to do that, I was worried that it would have some influence on sodium levels, especially as liver patients also have to be monitored with nebulisers.

Charlie-legs profile image
Charlie-legs in reply to

I wonder if the effect is the same? I know that living there took me a good while to acclimatise and I craved the Mersey. I would get the ferry when I was back. Sad mare that I am.🙄🥳

in reply to Charlie-legs

Not sad at all, I completely get it! 😊

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