How to help your body

Here are some things you can do when living with hepatitis C to help your body that will improve your overall well being. Also, see the web sites suggested on the right for more information on making such lifestyle changes.

  • Alcohol
    It's well known that alcohol is harmful to your liver. With hepatitis C also affecting the liver, it's essential at least minimise alcohol consumption or ideally to cut out alcohol completely, keeping any damage to this vital organ to an absolute minimum. Recent research has shown that even moderate drinking can accelerate the progress of liver disease in people with hepatitis C.

I was a heavy drinker, and had drunk every day for at least 10 years, but I was determined to give this treatment the best chance to work. I found the strength to stay on the wagon.

Phil

  • Diet
    It's much easier for the liver to process plenty of fruit and vegetables, good carbohydrates and proteins, than fried, salty and sugary foods. You can also help the liver flush toxins away by drinking lots of water. In terms of vitamins and minerals, people with hepatitis C are encouraged to achieve the UK recommended intake. There is no evidence to support taking vitamins or minerals in excess of these amounts.

  • Exercise
    There are many benefits to taking regular exercise including energy gain, weight loss and the feel-good factor. All of these make a big difference to living with hepatitis C. Exercise shouldn't be exhausting though. People with hepatitis C are encouraged to take mild to moderate exercise. Even going for a walk every day may help boost your immune system and help you sleep at night. Don't think of it as chore, rather as an opportunity to try out a new hobby like Tai Chi or Yoga. Remember if you are receiving treatment for hepatitis C, you may find your capacity for exercise is less.

  • Sleep
    Getting a good nights sleep is important for everyone, but particularly if you suffer from a long term illness like hepatitis C. A lot of research has shown that sleeping less than 6 hours a night can increase your chances of various serious health conditions. For tips on a good night's sleep visit the National Sleep Foundation website.

  • Smoking
    The benefits of stopping smoking are clear. However, it's much easier said than done. Like some drugs and alcohol, the addictive qualities of tobacco mean that coming off can be very stressful. If you feel ready to quit, your doctor will be only too glad to give you as much help as possible. ASH Scotland have a useful information sheet which explain the health risks of smoking with a blood borne virus infection.

Complementary therapies

There are also a wide range of complementary therapies that may help to relieve symptoms and some of the side effects of treatment.

Hepatitis C Scotland

http://www.hepcscotland.co.uk

© Health Protection Scotland