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What I Mean Is

Hepatitis C has lots of terms that become part of a patient’s vocabulary over time. Here are my interpretations of them.

Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE)– Is the liver not processing blood properly, to the point where it interferes with the Blood-Brain Barrier. It prompts memory loss, confusion, apathy, depression and in extreme cases coma.

Ascities/Edema– Fluid retention, sodium is a big catalyst for this. Abdomen and extremities can swell insane degrees.

Esophageal Varices– Just your standard veins-busting-in-the-throat really.

Jaundice– Yellow skin, yellowish/brown eyes.

Pruritus–  a fancy term for Itchiness, all the time.

Portal Hypertension– Because of the damage to the liver the major arteries and veins find themselves working harder, creating high blood pressure.

Secondary symptoms:

GERD/Acid Reflux– The stomach and esophagus aren’t workin in sync, allowing the acid to damage the esophagus. GERD is consistent Acid reflux.

Vitamin deficiencies (In my case D)– A vitamin D deficiencies can cause depression, loose hair, and apathy. It results from a combination of lack of consumption and my livers inability to process properly.

Electrolyte imbalance– Sodium, Magnesium and potassium all have ideal levels in your body, when Sodium is too high it creates swelling, whereas a lack of Magnesium or Potassium creates muscle cramps and spasms.

Generic Terms:

Viral Load– the quantity of Hep C in my system.

Zeroing (out)– is having a viral load of zero

SVRSustained Viral Response is what we mean by “cure” it’s not a cure itself, it’s a elimination of fertile viruses. An SVR at 12 weeks is typically considered cured.

MELDModel for End-stage Liver Disease is a score used to calculate the likelihood a patient will die within the next 3 months, it also is used as a metric in creating the transplant list.


Non-peg Interferon– a three times per week injection based method of boosting the immune system to fight a virus.

Ribavirin– a potent retro-viral which is used to assist the immune system in targeting viruses.

Incivek (telaprivir)– One of the first generation of Direct Acting-Antivirals (DAA). Taken with fat, it disrupts the viruses ability to replicate by targeting the early reproductive cycle.

Peg-Interferon– a once a week Interferon injection.

Sovaldi, Olysio, and Harvoni– revolutionary DAAs with minimal side effects.

By targeting non-structural proteins, it targets the viral reproduction cycle by neutralizing the proteins it bonds with. Each drug targets different proteins in different ways.

Within the liver cell there are non-structural proteins which are used by the Hep C virus in reproduction. NS 3/4A and NS5A are two areas where Direct Acting Anti-virals put their focus in inhibiting that process.

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.