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Managing Life with Hepatitis C

People with hepatitis C can live a normal life span of seventy or eighty years with proper medical care and self care. The main keys to survival are adhering without fail to any medication schedule and avoiding all alcohol because it damages the liver. However, a liver transplant may be necessary if serious damage has already taken place. Even if that is the case, though, taking antivirals and anti-rejection drugs as prescribed can mean a long and relatively healthy life.


Living With


A healthy lifestyle is essential in order to feel your best with hepatitis C.



● Eat plenty of fruits and veggies, choose lean protein such as fish or chicken, limit red meat, avoid all or most foods high is sugar and fat, and stay away from processed products as well as fast food. This diet should help you maintain a healthy weight.



● Get plenty of rest.



● Drink lots of water.



● Stick with a regular exercise regimen. There’s no need to go to the gym. A simple routine of mall walking with friends three times a week will do the trick!



● Don’t shy away from the social support and contact you need in order to keep from feeling isolated and perhaps even becoming depressed. You are not putting your family and friends at risk of contracting hep C just by getting together with them for the emotional connections that can boost your mood and help you keep your resolve to do all you can to live well with your hep C.


Complications



As detailed above, a chronic hepatitis C infection can result in serious complications including:



● Scarring of the tissue of the liver. This condition, which is called cirrhosis, impairs the function of the liver.



● Cancer of the liver. Fortunately, this development is very rare.



● Liver failure. Eventually, a liver may be so damaged that a transplant is necessary. The options are an organ from a deceased donor or a portion of the liver of a living donor.


Footnotes

Hepatitis C Information for the Public – CDC

Diseases and Conditions, Hepatitis C, MayoClinic.org

MedLinePlus, NIH

New York Presbyterian, Weill Cornell Medical Center, Viral Hepatitis

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