Liver Hepatitis C Living

You may be surprised if you’re diagnosed with hepatitis C. Its symptoms can be nonspecific or even nonexistent. However, successful treatment and management are available.

Symptoms of hepatitis C can be treated with antiretroviral drugs, as well as lifestyle changes, including avoiding liver toxins and improving your diet. With diligence, you may make living with hepatitis C easier by reducing its effects on your body and your life. Learn how to improve your hepatitis C prognosis through frequent doctor visits, exercise and a healthy diet for hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C Treatment

If you’re diagnosed with hepatitis C, you have several treatment options, including peginterferon and ribavirin. Cases of severe liver damage or liver failure may require a liver transplant. Depending on the severity of your hepatitis C symptoms and the extent of liver damage, your doctor will recommend an appropriate course of treatment. She may even recommend that you participate in a clinical trial on hepatitis C or follow a healthy diet for hepatitis C.

Avoid Stressing Your Liver

When living with hepatitis C, you should avoid putting further stress on your liver. These steps may help slow and minimize liver damage, improving your hepatitis C prognosis:

  • Avoid alcohol, which can cause liver damage and cirrhosis.
  • Consult your doctor before taking any prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Be sure each member of your medical team is aware of your current medications before prescribing any others.
  • Eat a healthy diet, exercise and stay hydrated. While a specific diet for hepatitis C hasn’t been established, healthy choices may help optimize liver function.
  • Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B.

Monitor Liver Function and Overall Health

If you’re living with hepatitis C, regular doctor visits are necessary to monitor your liver function and facilitate early identification of liver damage. These steps may ensure the best possible hepatitis C prognosis.

These test results are useful in making necessary modifications to your treatment plan. For example, antiviral drugs can cause severe side effects in some people. In some cases, doctors recommend a “watchful waiting” approach to treatment, monitoring hepatitis C symptoms and liver function. Regular check-ins allow your doctor to determine when changes in your condition warrant more aggressive treatment.

Protect Others from Infection

Since hepatitis C is transmitted through contact with contaminated blood, take measures to prevent others from coming in contact with your blood if you’re infected. Don’t share items that may have traces of blood, including razors and toothbrushes.

Dealing with Emotional Stress

Receiving a diagnosis of hepatitis C can be overwhelming, especially if your hepatitis C prognosis isn’t good. Supportive friends and family members may provide the support you need during this difficult time. If you need more help, your doctor can help you find a counselor or support group. Depression is often a side effect of antiviral medications, so report any serious mood changes to your doctor.

Resources

HCV Advocate. (2010). Living with hepatitis C. Retrieved October 10, 2010, from http://www.hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/living_w_hepatitis_C.asp#2.

Hepatitis Foundation International. (n.d.). How to live with hepatitis. Retrieved October 10, 2010, from http://www.hepfi.org/living/liv_living.html#live_with_hep_c.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. (2006). Chronic hepatitis C: Current disease management. Retrieved October 10, 2010, from http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/chronichepc/.