Supporting Liver Health for Hepatitis C

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The liver is one of the most important organs in the human body—it’s responsible for storing nutrients, aiding in the digestive process, and removing waste products, harmful chemicals, and other toxins from the body. The word “hepatitis” means inflammation (swelling) of the liver, which makes it harder for the liver to perform these functions. Put simply, if you have Hepatitis C, your liver may not be working as well as it should.  This can cause symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and joint and muscle pain.

For this reason, it’s very important to take steps to support your liver after receiving a Hepatitis C diagnosis. While Hepatitis C may be treated with antiviral medications, following some simple health practices can help your liver function without complications for as long as possible.

Eat Well
A healthy diet is important for everyone, but it is absolutely crucial for patients with Hepatitis C to eat well.  In general, appropriate nutrition for Hepatitis C includes monitoring iron intake, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, consuming moderate amounts of protein, and limiting intake of caffeine and high-sodium foods.

Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol can be extremely taxing on the liver, leading to increased inflammation and scarring of the tissue.  While a drink or two is generally fine for most people, patients with Hepatitis C need to take extra precautions to protect their liver.  I strongly recommend that my patients with Hepatitis C avoid alcohol entirely.

Maintain a Healthy Weight
Like alcohol, excess weight can place undue stress on the liver, so patients with Hepatitis C should strive to maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.  Incorporating regular physical activity into your routine also has beneficial effects for your overall health in general. If you find that you’re having trouble shedding those extra pounds, don’t hesitate to give the office a call.  I can help you meet your weight loss goals.

Use Caution with Supplements and Over-the-Counter Medications
There are many medications that seem relatively harmless but can actually have negative effects on your liver.  Tylenol is one example, and many herbs and supplements also fall into this category. Therefore, it is extremely important to let me know about any medications you might be taking, including vitamins and supplements.

Regularly Monitor Hepatitis C
This one is crucial—patients with Hepatitis C should come in for a check-up a minimum of twice per year, and more often if needed.  At these appointments, we’ll monitor your liver enzymes, discuss your symptoms, and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.  Patients who follow-up regularly tend to have better liver functioning and overall health, so it’s important to attend your appointments and closely follow any medical or dietary instructions.

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