If you’ve just received a hepatitis C diagnosis and are nervous about what to expect, you’ve come to the right place. There are a variety of ways to treat hepatitis C, and while these generally require drug therapies and regular visits to your doctor, the great news is that hepatitis C is very treatable today. In over 90 percent of cases, it’s actually considered curable.
This guide will help you stay on top of your treatments and show you how to make them work for you.
Get coverage if possible
One of the key stressors of dealing with hepatitis C is the financial burden of the treatments themselves. If you do have insurance, keep in mind that your company will need to approve any drug therapies or treatment options your doctor recommends to you.
If you don’t have health insurance, there are a variety of resources available to help you, such as:
Also, some pharmaceutical companies have specific programs available to ensure you get the hepatitis C medication you need.
Manage the symptoms
The antiviral drugs your doctor chooses usually go a long way in helping to manage the illness, but sometimes it can be confusing to pinpoint your symptoms.
If you’re already receiving treatment for hepatitis C and are noticing any new symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor right away. The reason? Hepatitis C is also known to be linked to other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Taking note of the symptoms is the first step to staying healthy.
It’s possible that the medications you’re taking are causing unwanted side effects or that your hepatitis C is progressing in ways your doctor can help treat.
Make smart choices
No one wants to be told that the condition they have means they need to make lifestyle changes. But when it comes to hepatitis C, it’s important to keep in mind that anything that can further compromise your liver, or your overall immune system, needs to be carefully examined.
Exercising and maintaining a healthy weight are essential to keeping you healthy. On the other hand, minimizing or completely abstaining from the following will help:
- alcohol consumption
- illicit drug use
On top of this, it’s also important to get immunized for hepatitis A and B, and to stay up to date with other vaccinations.
Talk to your doctor
Your doctor is your teammate. They are key to keeping you informed and helping you navigate your body’s well-being. If you have any question at all about your health, or anxieties surrounding your medications, you need to feel safe to discuss these with your doctor. Still, it can be overwhelming coming up with ways to talk about your hepatitis C health.
The following questions might help you initiate conversations together:
- Are there any herbal or vitamin supplements I could take that you would recommend?
- Are there painkillers or other prescription drugs I need to stay away from during my hepatitis C treatments?
- Am I at risk for liver cancer, and if so, what should I do to lessen that risk?
- Can I donate blood, semen, or eggs?
- Can I expect my symptoms from hepatitis C to subside, and how long should I wait before talking about a medication change?
- Can I get pregnant or breastfeed?
- I heard about a new drug therapy. Am I a good candidate?
- How do I differentiate between medication side effects and hepatitis C symptoms?
Follow your doctor’s advice
It can be difficult to take medications on time, especially when you’re feeling better. Remember, though, the reason you’re likely feeling better is because your treatment is working.
Stop further damage to your liver by taking the medications and following the treatment regimen your doctor has given to you.
The damage hepatitis C can cause doesn’t happen overnight, and the condition is very treatable when detected. The best way to stay on top of hepatitis C is to take note of any changes you see or feel along the path to full recovery. Remember, you’re the best advocate for your body and the one in charge of your health.