Along with taking your medicine, you can stay healthy with hepatitis C when you commit to some basic, good habits. These lifestyle tips can help you feel better and keep your condition under control.
Stop Drinking Alcohol
Because hepatitis C is a liver disease, you want to avoid anything that puts more stress on your liver, like alcohol. Some people with the virus might be able to drink a little, but no one knows for sure if there's a safe amount for everyone with the disease. The safest bet is to cut booze out completely. Talk to your doctor if you need help to stop.
Look at Your Medications
Go over all the prescription and over-the-counter drugs you take with your doctor. Some may have side effects that can hurt your liver. For example, too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage. Other painkillers like ibuprofen and naproxen are dangerous if you have scarring in your liver, called cirrhosis. Talk to your doctor to see what's best for you.
Watch Your Supplements
Your doc should also know about any herbal remedies and supplements you take. Some -- like kava kava -- may harm your liver. Don't start anything new without asking him about it first.
Think About Safe Sex
It's possible to spread hepatitis C during sex, but the risk is very low. If you have one long-term partner, you're less likely to spread the virus, but your lover should get tested.
If you have more than one partner, your chance for spreading hepatitis C is higher. It's a good idea to practice safe sex and always use latex condoms.
Don't Share Personal Items
The hep C virus spreads through blood, so there's a small chance that when you share items like toothbrushes or razors you could pass the disease on. Though the risks are slim, it's a good idea to keep your personal care items just for you.
It's your liver's job to help your body break down everything you eat. Treat it well with a healthy diet. That means lots of fruits and vegetables, healthy protein, and limits on fatty foods. Be sure to drink plenty of water, too.
Stay active to keep your weight in check, keep up your strength, and control your stress. All are important for a healthy life with hep C. Find an activity you like so you'll keep doing it. Your goal should be to work out for 30 minutes three times a week. But if you’re new to exercise, you can start with just 10 or 15 minutes at once. Talk to your doctor before you start a workout program.
Stop Any Illegal Drug Use
Some people use marijuana to ease their symptoms and treatment side effects. But studies say this and other illegal drugs can hurt your liver. And you can pass on the virus to someone else if you share needles or syringes. Ask your doctor if you need help to quit.
Talk to other people who have hepatitis C. They understand what you’re going through, and they can answer your questions and offer their own advice for how to live well. Many communities, hospitals, and organizations have support groups that meet in person or online.
Myths About Hepatitis C
It’s best to put some faulty ideas about the virus to rest. You can't spread hepatitis C by sharing cups, eating utensils, or food. You also can't spread it by holding hands, hugging, or kissing (unless you have open sores on your mouth). You also won't pass it on by sneezing or coughing on someone.