March 17, 2008
People with Hepatitis C can slow the liver’s cycle of inflammation by making these three healthy lifestyle changes. By eliminating certain risk factors, one can live a long life with HCV.
The number of people affected by Hepatitis C continues to grow. Unfortunately, the medicines used to treat this virus have not yet been able to defeat it. As of 2008, the current standard of treatment for the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), pegylated interferon and ribavirin, remains effective for approximately only half of all cases. Although pegylated interferon and ribavirin can’t help millions of people get rid of this virus, Hepatitis C doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Even though those living with chronic HCV are at a high risk of developing liver cirrhosis and/or liver cancer, eliminating three vices can prevent a worsening of liver health.
Understanding Liver InflammationLiving with chronic HCV means constantly battling liver inflammation. If this inflammation rages unabatedly, it causes liver disease to progress. The progressive cascade of Hepatitis C and liver inflammation is as follows:
This vicious cycle of inflammation causing scar tissue must be stopped to prevent a person’s chronic HCV from causing more and more liver damage.
Vice EliminationAccording to Norah Terrault, MD, MPH, from the University of California, San Francisco, “Hepatitis C is a major public health concern and the number of patients developing complications of chronic disease is on the rise. It is essential that we identify risk factors that can be modified to prevent and/or lessen the progression of HCV to fibrosis, cirrhosis and even liver cancer. These complications of chronic HCV infection will significantly contribute to the overall burden of liver disease in the U.S. and will continue to increase in the next decade.”
By eliminating three unhealthful habits, people with HCV can single-handedly reduce the inflammation their liver must contend with. Although any toxin puts a greater strain on liver function, the following directly contribute to heightened inflammation with HCV:
Although removing these three vices from one’s life may be a monumental life change for someone, it can also save their liver. The increase in inflammation that drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and eating saturated fat can cause allows a liver with HCV to spiral into advanced liver disease. By abandoning these three unhealthful habits, the liver gets a respite from the inflammation cycle – perhaps enough for the body to break down some of the collagen matrix that contributes to the continuation of liver cell death.