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Knowing About Changes

Knowing that we have hepatitis c makes it possible for us to make choices about things we can do to about our future.

This is an argument I use with the public health officials who are fixed in their beliefs about whether testing, or screening of at risk populations is a good policy.

This is part of my work as an advocate and it has been a battle I have, along with others, have fought for years. Sure, we do have recommendations from the CDC about “at risk” behaviors like drug use, tattoos, blood transfusions prior to blood screening as well as baby boomers born between 1945-1965, although there may be evidence to suggest we broaden the age group, and there are other risks.

Regardless of your risk for living with hepatitis c, if you are diagnosed with it you have some choices you can make that may impact your future health.

Treatment is the main theme and it is understandable- I was absolutely no different after my own diagnosis.

Access to treatment has been a hot topic with the advent of new and better drugs that can cure almost all people, but with a high financial cost, but in the narrative there has been little discussion among the health delivery and policymaker communities about the choices we can make in the absence of immediate treatment or the ongoing healthy choices we can make with a cure which will help improve our long term health and quality of life.

As you have read here in from my fellow contributors there are things we can do about diet, activity, and lifestyle which can improve our outcomes going forward regardless of our level of liver fibrosis.

An old expression comes to mind which is fitting when it comes to these things, and it goes something like “throwing gas on a fire” speaks to adding fuel to a fire, and there is no doubt about alcohol use and it’s affect on a person who has hep c, over time.

We all know this is not a good thing, and I understand that addiction can make it very complex and difficult for some and not simply a “choice”.

The reason I bring up alcohol use is because recently I was at a forum where a scientist presented data on just how much it increases mortality (death) in older people like me (baby boomers) over time, who have been diagnosed with HCV. It was quite pronounced, and really drove home to me just how important it was to change behaviors if we want to get well and prevent ever worsening illness and death.

There are some other important changes we can adopt which will help in our liver and other health, and like I said, you may know them already.

Fatty liver is a looming health epidemic with so many of us living with obesity and years of poor diets lacking in good nutrition while adding body fat which causes much the same damage on the liver as hepatitis c. Put the two together and it is like the gas on fire thing again.

I don’t mean to frighten people into making choices, and I am not suggesting that changing some of these behaviors is always easy, but despite how hard they may seem they have great potential to delay the onset of worsening liver disease and help you live longer and help avoid greatly diminished quality of life.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.