Hepatitis C and Cirrhosis; Symptoms and What Helps

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Hepatitis C can bring on complications such as cirrhosis if the virus continues to do liver damage. Treatment for Hepatitis C is very important in order to eliminate the virus from doing further liver damage.

 

If you or a loved one don’t know if you have Hepatitis C, ask your doctor to be tested and find out for sure. The Hepatitis C blood test is not part of regular blood work, you have to request it. Sometimes even cirrhosis symptoms don’t show up until extensive liver damage is done. Be safe, get tested for Hepatitis C, and seek treatment.

 

Symptoms of Cirrhosis:

*Loss of appetite

*Fatigue

*Nausea

*Weight loss

*Abdominal pain

*Spider-like blood vessels

*Severe itching

*Confusion, memory issues or physical impairment

*Swelling in the abdomen or legs

 

Complications of Cirrhosis:

*Bleeding or bruise easily

*Jaundice, a yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes

*Gallstones

*Water retention and painful swelling in the legs (edema) and abdomen (ascites)

*Severe itchy skin

*Blood vessels leading to your liver can back up causing blockage and burst (varices)

*The patient can become sensitive to medications and their side effects

*Develop insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes

*Toxins can build up in your brain from high ammonia levels since the liver can no longer process and flush toxins from the liver, this build up can cause HE (hepatic encephalopathy, causing problems with concentration, memory, sleeping or other mental or physical functions.

 

Symptoms and conditions of cirrhosis can continue to point the patient can experience liver failure and slip into a coma which is life threatening.

But once the patient has been diagnosed with cirrhosis, there is medical treatment and lifestyle changes can help conditions from getting worse and relieve some symptoms. It is very important to take care of the healthy liver tissue that is left.

 

There are two types of cirrhosis, compensated and decompensated.

 

Compensated cirrhosis means the patient has not become jaundice and has not developed varices or ascites.

Decompensated cirrhosis means the patient has developed jaundice, ascites, variceal hemorrhage, and hepatic encephalopathy.

 

Esophageal varices sometimes form when blood flow to your liver is blocked, most often by scar tissue in the liver caused by liver disease. The blood flow begins to back up, increasing pressure within the large vein (portal vein) that carries blood to your liver.

This pressure (portal hypertension) forces the blood to seek other pathways through smaller veins, such as those in the lowest part of the esophagus. These thin-walled veins balloon with the added blood. Sometimes the veins can rupture and bleed.

Ascites is accumulation of fluid buildup in the abdomen or legs.

 

These factors help make a huge difference in living with cirrhosis:

*Early diagnosis

*Treatment for Hepatitis B, C, D, or Alcohol, NASH (Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) or other liver disease

*Regular medical check-ups

*Medications given by your physician to reduce ammonia levels and help reduce complications

*Regular tests

* Maintaining a healthy lifestyle (eat a healthy diet based on your doctor’s recommendations for your liver condition), and exercise regularly

*Limit salt in your diet to prevent or reduce fluid buildup

*Avoid processed foods

*Avoid eating raw shellfish or uncooked fish of any type

*Do not drink alcohol, drugs or exposure to harmful chemicals or substances

*Talk to your doctor about all medications, vitamins and supplements you take and find out what is safe for your liver condition

*Make a list of questions and take them to your doctor’s visit. Take someone with you to doctor’s appointments that can help you take notes from your medical team’s discussion, test results and recommendations.

*Make sure to ask questions if you don’t understand a term or your condition.

*Ask your physician’s advice on if they recommend you to be put on a liver transplant list, and your MELD score and what that means

*Ask your physician about diet recommendations for your liver condition and/or to be referred to a licensed dietitian or nutritionist that is familiar with your type of cirrhosis.

*Get the Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccine (there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C)

*If you have Hepatitis B or C, or D seek treatment in order to stop further liver damage from occurring

* If you cannot stop drinking or deal with substance abuse seek treatment with AA and medical treatment

*Practice safe sex

*Do not share needles, razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers or other personal items with others

*Get Support from family, friends, and support group with others who share your condition. Don’t suffer in silence and isolation, reach out for support. Support can equip and help you in great ways.

 

*If you have a family member or friend of someone with liver disease or perhaps you are their caregiver, seek information and support as the caregiver.  Information and support are powerful tools to help you.

 

Do you have a question or comment about Hepatitis and Cirrhosis? Do you or a loved one have Cirrhosis? We’d love to hear from you.

Share your comments below.

 

To view this post or other resources, see our home page at, Life Beyond Hep C.

 

Related Posts:

 

Living with Hepatic Encephalopathy “Brain Fog” by Hep C Patient Suzanne, part 1

 

 

 

 

 

Living with Hepatic Encephalopathy “Brain Fog” by Hep C Patient Suzanne, part 2

 

 

 

 

 

Hepatitis C Treatment and Cirrhosis

 

 

 

 

 

Hepatitis C and Cirrhosis; The Stages of Liver Disease

 

 

 

 

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14 Responses to Hepatitis C and Cirrhosis; Symptoms and What Helps

  1. Richard s. August 9, 2017 at 8:34 am #

    Connie, excellent post. As someone who has had many of these complications this information is very valuable. I hope Suzanne is feeling better and the doctors got all the cancer. I know our Lord Jesus Christ is working hard to help her. I wish all the hep c warriors good health. God bless them all. In Christ, Richard.

    • Connie M August 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

      Hi Richard,
      Thanks for sharing today. I’m so glad you found the article helpful. Since you have definitely gone through this experience of cirrhosis and complications and now a liver transplant hero, I’m glad you’re here to share hope with others that they can do this. You are dear to us.

      Suzanne sent this message this morning to everyone;

      As for my surgery and recovery, this surgery was skin cancer on my eye lids, which was two separate surgeries, Monday and Tuesday. I’m at home recovering. They got all the cancer! I’m black and blue and swollen but it will heal.

      Blessings,
      Suzanne

      Everyone continue to pray for her recovery. I know she appreciates everyone’s prayers and support.

      Blessings my friend,
      Connie

  2. Hernando August 9, 2017 at 9:25 am #

    Blessings fellow warriors. I agree with Richard this post has valuable information no matter where you are in this process. Suzanne has an amazing journey to share as well as you Richard. Both of you show so much faith, grace and hope in our Lord. You are powerful disciples for the furthering of the kingdom of God. I will continue to pray for you both as you face your medical challenges and sing out praises of gratitude for the blessing of being touched by you both. Dearest Connie thank you for providing us with a place to share our experiences strengths and hope. You are a mighty warrior.

    Peace, love and blessings, Hernando

    • Connie M August 9, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

      Hi Hernando,
      Thank you for sharing my friend. Both you and Richard have gone through a tremendous journey with cirrhosis, cancer and liver transplant. You both are living hope and we’re so thankful for you. I’m so glad you found the article helpful.

      I hope you see the note above to Richard which included a message Suzanne sent today. Thank you for praying for her and reaching out. You are so dear to us my friend.

      I hope you are feeling better. You remain close in my heart and prayers each day.

      Blessings my friend,
      Connie

  3. Connie M August 9, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

    This message is from Suzanne who is recovering at home after her surgery.

    Hi All,
    Just wanted to let everyone know the only symptom I have with my cirrhosis is HE which is controlled by Xifxan and Lactulose. Also be aware to treat any suspected infection immediately.

    Blessings,
    Suzanne

  4. Jose August 9, 2017 at 4:11 pm #

    God Bless Everyone!!

    Suzanne, good job on your eye surgery, I’ll be praying for your speedy recovery. “THANK YOU LORD”

    Thanks Connie for this informative post.

    Jose

    • Connie M August 10, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

      Hi Jose,
      So glad you found the article helpful. I appreciate you’re sharing.
      We always love to hear from you.

      Hope you’re feeling well.
      Blessings my friend,
      Connie

      • Cindy Shafer August 10, 2017 at 3:20 pm #

        No he has no primary doctor.. he has nothing at all. This is why I’m trying to find someway to help him. I know from my own experience what he needs to do but I can not financially help him out. I used ” My Support Path” to help me my meds. But I had a doctor.

        • Connie M August 10, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

          Hi Cindy,
          I understand. Do you know if he is employed? I don’t want to assume he doesn’t, but if he doesn’t have anything, this could mean it still has some work, or on any type of government assistance like food stamps, welfare, or medicaid?? These answers will help me know which resources to direct you to.

          Thanks,
          Connie

          • Cindy Shafer August 11, 2017 at 3:59 am #

            No he is unemployed at the moment . He is not on any government assistance of any sort. He lives with another friend does odd jobs such as mowing, fixing cars for other people just what ever he can find until he lands employment .

  5. Cindy Shafer August 10, 2017 at 3:47 am #

    I have a friend who just found out he was positive .. he’s indigent and can’t afford insurance or meds. I know it’s expensive I’m now hec c free. Blood test were outrageous and my meds $1000.00 a day . I have insurance but he doesn’t who can I get to help him here in Texas?Close to Fort Worth?

    • Connie M August 10, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

      Hi Cindy,
      Thank you for sharing. There are several pharma companies as well as patient assist groups who help patients without insurance. I actually have several questions and those answers will help me know what resources to give you.

      Is he employed?
      Does he have a primary doctor?
      Do you know when he was diagnosed, did they run any other liver tests, this will help know what genotype (virus strain he has), and viral load count, and what condition or stage his liver is in?
      Does he have any other medical conditions?
      I assume since you said he was just diagnosed, that he’s never done any Hep C treatment before.

      Let me know the answers to these questions and I’ll be able to know what resources to send you.

      You are a good friend for reaching out to find help for him. I’m so glad to hear you’re now Hep C free. Congratulations!

      Blessings my friend,
      Connie

    • Connie M August 11, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

      Hi Cindy,
      OK, that will help me with a direction. The first step is to get him set up with a doctor or clinic who can run some further tests and help for treatment.
      Here are a few resources to help you get started with finding him a doctor / and clinic;

      https://www.nlm.nih.gov/services/freemedcare_int.html

      https://ramusa.org/

      http://www.nafcclinics.org/

      http://www.needymeds.org/free_clinics.taf

      I also have a list of resources for patient assistant programs for patients who can help patients without insurance for treatment medication. First, he needs to get set up with a doctor and clinic and further tests need to be run. Then we can follow up with patient assistant groups for treatment.

      Hope this information helps to get started.
      Blessings,
      Connie

      • Cindy Shafer August 12, 2017 at 1:47 am #

        I’ll check out the info you sent and thank you so much, I’ll let you know how things go. I used the new drug Esplusa .. I think that’s it. Lol.. I had no side effects at all. I’m still so greatful for my cure.

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