Living With Hepatitis

Alcohol and Hepatitis Don't Mix. Mike Johnson/Stock.Xchng

Some forms of hepatitis will develop into a chronic disease, usually when the infection has been longer than 6 months. In this sense, living with hepatitis is a lot like living with any other long-term disease. So, what happens now?

Perhaps your first reactions are disbelief and fear. While these are understandable responses to unpleasant news, hepatitis, even in its chronic form, is a treatable disease.

With proper treatment and good lifestyle choices, it is possible to live a full and active life. For many people, the treatment goal in chronic hepatitis is to prevent the development of cirrhosis of the liver. Doctors do this by controlling the effects of hepatitis with medications. However, medicine is only one part of the therapy. Living with hepatitis involves some minor lifestyle changes. The good news is that these changes can be wonderfully beneficial to your entire body and mind, in addition to your liver. Let's start with the basics of nutrition.

What You Should Eat and Drink

The liver is a major organ of metabolism and is responsible for removing toxins in the body from the food we ingest. One of the safest dietary practices for someone with a diseased liver is to avoid additional toxins such as alcohol, alternative remedies that are unknown to science and all recreational drugs.

It is important to realize that all these are processed as toxins by the liver and can be especially dangerous to one that is damaged. Even prescribed medications are of concern and doctors will probably require additional blood tests to monitor liver functions when these medications are required.

Vitamins and supplements should be carefully considered with your doctor because when viewed properly, they can be potential toxins.

Some vitamins like vitamin A are known to harm the liver. Likewise iron, a popular supplement which is helpful in some people, can be dangerous in someone with hepatitis. When living with hepatitis, consider that a regular diet abundant in fruits, vegetables and breads and adequate amounts of meat will probably provide you with all needed nutrients.

What You Should Do

The human body benefits from activity. Even with chronic hepatitis, moderate exercise provides protection from heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Perhaps the most important known benefit of physical activity is its influence on mental health. Dealing with a chronic illness can take a mental toll on your happiness. Regular sessions of moderate activity (at least 20 minutes daily) will be a tremendous advantage to your overall health.

What You Should Know

Understanding hepatitis is important to a successful lifestyle. Sometimes people encounter stigma concerning hepatitis, which is basically a lack of understanding about hepatitis expressing itself as fear.

Knowing how the disease develops is important in helping people feel safe and comfortable.

Who You Should Meet

Many people successfully manage chronic diseases throughout their lives. Among these individuals are people living with hepatitis, just like you. These people have stories to share of their experiences, successes and failures. To you, it can be wonderful advice in living your life to the fullest. Probably the best way to contact these people is through a support group. Each state will have organizations that help connect people into support groups.

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