If your hepatitis C makes you feel tired, you've got ways to fight back. Try these tips to keep fatigue from putting the brakes on the activities you love.
Pace yourself. You may have days when you feel fine and others when you're just too tired to do things you normally do. Listen to your body and give yourself some downtime when you need it.
Don't drink. Alcohol is not only a danger to your liver -- it also makes you tired.
Eat smaller meals, more often. Instead of larger breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, this dining style gives your body and brain a regular supply of fuel. Make sure to keep it healthy, with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fatty, fried, and processed foods zap your energy.
Exercise. It sounds hard when you're already tired, but moving around actually gives you energy. It boosts your mood, too.
If your doctor gives you the green light, start with a 10-minute walk, and build up to 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week.
Manage stress. Try yoga, meditation, or other relaxation techniques on a regular basis. Or simply make time for things you enjoy.
Get enough rest. You might find your hep C medicine makes it hard to sleep. Try these tips to get better shut-eye:
- Don't watch TV (or text or read) in bed.
- Go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.
- Keep your bedroom cool and quiet.
- Don't drink caffeine late in the day.
If you still can't sleep, talk to your doctor. Sleeping pills may give you some short-term help.
Why You're So Tired
Studies disagree about whether the hepatitis C virus itself causes fatigue. But two things are clear. If you have scarring of the liver, called cirrhosis, you're more likely to get tired. And taking interferon, sometimes a part of treatment, can rob you of energy.
But if you go through treatment and get cured, your fatigue will get better.
If you're having trouble with daily activities because you're too tired, talk to your doctor about your medication options. You might be able to take newer drugs instead of interferon to wipe out the virus more quickly, so you don't have to deal with side effects for so long.
Depression Can Play a Role in Fatigue
Anyone with a long-lasting illness can get depressed. Hepatitis C is no different. You may be angry, anxious, or sad about your health or the changes you've had to make in your life.
Your doctor can help. Tell him how you're feeling. He may prescribe an antidepressant.
He can also help you find a therapist or support group, where you can talk to others who are facing the same problems as you.