Tips to Help You Manage Hepatitis C
Look Out for Your Liver
Hepatitis C can make it harder for your liver to do its main job: Break down and filter out substances from your bloodstream. As a result, medications, herbs, drugs, and alcohol may stay in your system longer, and have a more powerful effect. Some substances pose the risk of serious liver damage.
Common painkillers and cold remedies with aspirin and acetaminophen can be toxic to people with damaged livers, especially if you take them with alcohol. Even large doses of vitamins -- like A and D -- can be bad. Be careful with herbal remedies, too. They can be powerful medicine, and some of them can do real harm.
Don't assume that over-the-counter medications are safe, either. Never take any drugs, supplements or alternative medicines before talking to your doctor.
If you're a smoker, try to quit. If you’re using illegal drugs, get into a treatment program. Ask your doctor whether you should cut out alcohol completely, or limit drinks to special occasions.
Learn to Relax
Living with a chronic illness can be tough, and so can the treatment for hepatitis C. It's easy to let your anxieties get to you. For people undergoing treatment, depression is always a risk.
To combat anxiety and depression, exercise regularly. It helps your state of mind as much as your body. Try out some relaxation and massage techniques. There isn't any scientific evidence that these approaches will help, but many people have benefited from them.
Most of all, keep living your life. Don't isolate yourself. Go out with friends. Do things you enjoy. Don't let your worries about hepatitis C keep you from doing the things you've always done.
The Big Picture
Most people with hepatitis C live long lives. Many don't have symptoms for decades, if ever. It's important to remember this. Finding out you have it may even have a positive effect on your life.
"Getting diagnosed is a life-altering event for most people," Franciscus says. "It helps people look at their lives and their health and figure out what's really important."
Being diagnosed with hepatitis C can inspire you to live a healthier and more fulfilling life, both physically and emotionally.