7 Self-Care Tips to Manage Hepatitis C
Along with taking your medicine, you can make some simple lifestyle changes to manage your hepatitis C. These tips can help you look and feel better.
No. 1. Eat Right
When it comes to diet, follow the same advice that's good for everyone: Eat well-rounded meals.
"I recommend to my patients a good, healthy diet, similar to what they would eat if they had heart disease -- low cholesterol, low fat," says David E. Bernstein, MD, director of the Center for Liver Disease at North Shore LIJ Health System.
Make sure you're getting plenty of these foods:
- Fresh fruits and veggies
- Whole grains
- Lean protein
You should be able to eat what you want, with one key exception. Avoid raw or undercooked oysters and other shellfish. They can give you serious infections that can be more severe when you have hepatitis C.
No. 2. Stay Hydrated
Eight to 10 glasses of water a day should give your body all the fluid it needs.
To make sure you're getting enough, pour yourself a tall glass of water at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Drink a few more glasses in between meals.
No. 3. Skip the Alcohol
Even in small amounts, it may be risky to your liver. So doctors tend to recommend that you not drink it at all, says Kapil Chopra, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.
No. 4. Manage Your Weight
If you're overweight you can get a condition called fatty liver, which can lead to cirrhosis, a disease that causes scarring on the organ.
Try a combo of diet and exercise to keep the pounds off. If you're having trouble sticking to a healthy weight on your own, ask your doctor for help.
No. 5. Get Active
Exercise is important for more than just weight control. It can help you keep up your strength.
That’s key, since you can lose muscle mass and tone if your liver disease gets worse, Chopra says.
If your hep C is mild, try to get the same amount of exercise that's recommended for everyone. Each week, get at least 2 1/2 hours of aerobics, activity that gets your heart pumping. Also do some muscle strengthening twice a week.
If your hep C gets more severe, base your exercise level on how you feel and what your doctor recommends.