The diagnosis is hard to understand, many people wonder if they will now die from Hepatitis C. The truth is that it probably won’t be the cause of death but it causes complications when other diseases attack a person’s immune system. Hepatitis C can be transmitted multiple ways: Sharing of needles, blood transfusions, sexual contact, etc. It is a blood borne illness. It carries a stigma with it of a “dirty” lifestyle including promiscuity, drug use, and alternate sexual practices such as prostitution.
The symptoms can be obscure, this is why many people carry and transmit the disease for quite a while before actually being diagnosed. Symptoms can be mild to severe. Early symptoms may include muscle aches, mild fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea. Later HCV (Hepatitis C virus) leads to malabsorption of nutrients (clay-colored stool and failure to thrive), and jaundice (yellowing of skin, darkening of the urine) which are indications of chronic liver disease. Most infected persons will suffer the initial symptoms for about 2 months then be fairly symptom free but about 40% of people will go on to develop chronic liver disease. Doctors had no treatment except for bed rest, increasing fluids, and monitoring for many years.
In the last decade they have started new treatment with synthetic interferon and a drug known as ribavirin. Most of the state university hospitals are involved in this treatment. It involves the patient injecting the medication to themselves once a week, usually for a period of one year. The drug itself has been compared to chemotherapy agents as it causes severe flu-like symptoms twenty-four to forty-eight hours after administration. This makes it very difficult for most people to complete the full course of treatment. If the patient does manage to complete treatment there is still only a 10 to 40% chance that the disease was eradicated. And it is important to note that although the disease with it’s symptoms had been eliminated that the patient will remain anti-body positive for life, and can have a recurrence.
The best path once you are diagnosed is to find a gastroenterologist that specializes in hepatitis. He will guide you through any available treatment options and where you can go to get these treatments. Also be sure to question additional herbal support such as liver detoxification tabs.