Hepatitis C Treatment

Hepatitis C is classified among the most dangerous viral infections that have a special propensity to affect liver cells. After initial infection, the virus invades hepatic tissue and remains silent, while slowly destroying the parenchymal cells of the liver gland. Ironically, most cases of HCV infection are silent and are only instantaneously discovered on routine medical examinations or years after initial infection due to significant alteration in the liver function as a result of virus mediated destruction.

Hepatitis C is considered as life threatening virus and is transmitted by the use of contaminated needles (illicit drug abuse) or accidental needle stick injuries in the hospital setting.

How to Know If You Have Hepatitis C

Since hepatitis infection is mostly asymptomatic, at least in the early course of infection, most people tend to live a normal, symptom-free life. Test for hepatitis C is not generally performed by healthcare providers until the patient is certain of the exposure to a viral source.

There are certain risk factors that are often implicated in the pathogenesis of hepatitis C. If you have one or more of the following risk factors, you should ask your healthcare provider to perform a viral test:

  • Your birth year is between 1945-1965.
  • You have received a blood transfusion from an unaccredited source or from a donor who is an HCV positive.
  • Exposure to contaminated syringes or needles during illicit drug use.
  • If you have received blood/ plasma for a blood related disorder or condition especially before 1987.
  • If you are a recipient of an organ transplant especially before July 1992.
  • You have a history of kidney dialysis in the past.
  • You are an HIV positive patient.
  • If your mother was infected with HCV at the time of your birth.

If you have any of the risk factors listed above, make sure to speak to your primary care provider to ascertain if you are infected. Doctors usually perform serological test to ascertain if you have an infection and may also perform a liver biopsy taking a tissue sample from your liver to see if the virus has affected the liver tissue significantly.

Hepatitis C Treatment

With the advancement in medical sciences, new methods are being used for the therapeutic management of Hepatitis infection. It is imperative to mention that a positive diagnosis with hepatitis doesn’t mean that you are compelled to receive treatment or medication for the rest of your life. Doctors usually decide the nature of therapy on the basis of histological changes in the liver.

There are 3 different modalities that are used by primary care providers for the management of hepatitis C.

1. Antiviral Medication

The first and the foremost goal of therapy is to stop the viral multiplication in your body. This can only be achieved with the use of antiviral drugs. Antiviral drugs boost the functioning of the immune system and restrict the invasion of virus to healthy segments of liver.

During medication, you are continuously examined by the doctor to keep track of the therapeutic effects. These antiviral drugs have certain side effects such as headache, flu, fever, depression and stress. Sometimes side effects get much harmful and treatment is temporarily discontinued or alternatives are sought.

2. Liver Transplant

If the virus has damaged your liver to such an extent that it cannot function properly, the doctors may advise a liver transplant. This is because liver cells are stable cells very limited capacity to regenerate or duplicate after severe liver injury. Under-performing liver greatly compromises the quality of life. Liver transplantation is usually performed after taking the healthy liver tissue from a family donor or someone who is compatible on tissue typing. Unfortunately, liver transplantation is not a permanent solution since viral activation can affect the integrity of transplanted liver. Most healthcare professionals advise antiviral agents after liver transplantation to increase the life of the transplanted tissue.

3. Vaccination

Vaccinations are available against hepatitis A and B. In case a person is already affected by hepatitis C, he should consider taking vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B to prevent aggravated liver damage in case of new infection.

Taking Care of Yourself

1. Social Drugs and Their Hazardous Effects

Social drugs are very common nowadays. These harmful agents are widely available at fairly cheap rates and have a very high addiction potential. Once a person gets addicted to these hazardous chemicals, the effects are deleterious on the health. Healthcare providers believe that patients of hepatitis C should necessarily avoid these drugs to minimize aggravated assault to the liver cells. In addition, consumption of heavy doses of alcohol has a deleterious effect on the liver, culminating in serious consequences.

2. Caution with the Intake of Pharmacological Agents

There are certain medicines that can significantly affect the integrity of liver cells. If you are suffering from active infection with hepatitis C virus, make sure to consult your primary care provider to learn about the list of medications that you should not consume. Medicines like sleeping pills, tranquilizers, Tylenol etc. are very dangerous for liver and should be avoided.

3. Homeopathic Treatment and Its Effects:

Herbs and supplements are not an ideal treatment option in case of an already inflamed or damaged liver. There are many herbs and supplements that can cause serious harm to liver. All weight-loss herbs can be toxic for liver. Hence the patient should consult his doctor before initiating any drug regimen.

4. Diet Control

Hepatitis C patients are required to maintain extra caution with their dietary nutrients. For example, it is recommended to avoid excessive quantities of proteins that may aggravate liver injury. Make sure to follow a healthy diet based on the recommendations of your doctor.

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