Hepatitis C is a viral infection that occurs in the liver. Mostly, hepatitis C occurs in a long period of time. Of course, various types of treatment are needed to prevent more serious complications, such as cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer. However, the most important thing is yourself, how do you take care of your health and your environment so that hepatitis C is not getting worse.
There are physical and psychological factors that you can apply to help you live with hepatitis C that you desire. Here are tips that you can apply.
Tips for maintaining physical health for people with hepatitis C
1. Applying a healthy diet
When you have hepatitis C, eating nutritious foods and adopting a healthy diet will help your heart work better and reduce the risk of hepatitis C that you will develop into cirrhosis of the liver or damage your liver. Choose various types of foods made from wheat, fruits and vegetables, low-fat milk or other milk-based foods, and foods that are rich in healthy proteins such as fish, lean meat, and dried beans.
2. Overcoming loss of appetite
Some side effects of hepatitis C medicines are loss of appetite. To reduce the feeling of weakness due to lack of food, try to eat little by little, but often. Avoid eating spicy or sour foods. To fight the bitter taste in your mouth, you can eat a few tablespoons of yogurt half an hour before your meal.
3. Avoid drinking alcohol
Hepatitis C reduces the ability of the liver to destroy alcohol and dispose of toxic products from alcohol in your body. If you continue to drink alcohol when you have hepatitis C, the consequence is that your liver is getting damaged and accelerating the occurrence of liver cirrhosis. Therefore, it is not recommended for people with hepatitis C to drink alcoholic beverages.
4. Active physical activity
When you get hepatitis C, exercising regularly can help you improve the quality of your overall health while dealing with the side effects of the drugs you take, such as weakness and depression. The most ideal exercise is an activity that cannot be done in a stable tempo, such as walking or swimming. Consult your doctor about what exercise is most suitable for you.
5. Maintain ideal body weight
If you are overweight or obese, fat will accumulate in the liver and make your hepatitis C worse. Conversely, the ideal body weight can overcome the problem. Begin to develop a strategy to reduce your weight if you overdo it. Maybe it can start with first making a mission to reduce 10% of your body weight. Also avoid extreme diets, because this can cause tension in your liver.
6. Overcoming fever and pain
One of the side effects that you might experience from hepatitis C drugs is symptoms such as if you have a cold. To relieve fever, drink plenty of water and take a warm bath. To relieve pain in your muscles, massage the affected muscles by compressing them with hot water. If you want to take painkillers, consult your doctor first.
7. Be careful with supplements
For people with hepatitis C, supplements can actually cause problems. For example, supplements that contain vitamins A, D, E, and K. If your body is overloaded with iron (a problem often faced by people with cirrhosis of the liver), avoid supplements that contain iron and are rich in vitamin C.
8. Get enough sleep
People who have hepatitis C do experience insomnia sometimes, especially during treatment. In fact, it is very important to have enough sleep so as not to aggravate the symptoms of an existing health problem, such as weakness. Indeed there is no specific cure for this problem, but you can take the following steps:
- Go to bed at the same time every day. Likewise with getting up, wake up at the same time every day.
- Make your bedroom really just for the bed. Do not have pets, TVs, work desks, or gadgets.
- Make sure the temperature of the room where you sleep is comfortable.
- Use soft ingredients for your pajamas, blankets and bed linen.
- Avoid napping.
- Avoid exercise, eat heavy foods, or alcohol 2-3 hours before your bedtime
- Sleep medications can also help, for example zolpidem.
Tips for maintaining mental health for hepatitis C patients
1. Reduce stress
Living with chronic diseases like hepatitis C can indeed make you stressful. If you have begun to feel stressed, try taking time to take a walk, take a deep breath, and practice yoga. Also make sure you have enough rest. Don't be shy to discuss your concerns with your family or friends. You may also be able to join a support group that can help encourage you.
2. Overcoming mental problems
Mental health problems like depression and fear are common in people with hepatitis C. However, there are several ways you can do this. Indeed, mental problems can also occur due to side effects of drugs consumed by people with hepatitis C. For example, interferon can make you feel depressed, confused, emotionally unstable, and difficult to concentrate.
Antidepressant medications can help. You can also get help by talking to a psychiatrist or counselor.
3. Overcoming the stigma about hepatitis C
People who have hepatitis C often feel scared about what other people think about them. Surveys show that 74% of people who have hepatitis C think that other people will think that they have this disease as a result of being sick or using illegal drugs. Even though in reality, people don't think so, instead they are more sympathetic to your condition. Therefore, try to think more positively and talk about the facts with other people so that there are no misunderstandings about your illness.
4. Talk to people around you about your condition
Indeed, that is your right about whether you want to tell your condition to someone else or not. But of course, it is undeniable that you have to tell the people closest to you, like your family and the people closest to you. Especially those who live around you, because hepatitis C is a contagious disease. It is very important to inform them too, so that they can quickly go to the doctor to get further treatment if there are signs they are starting to get infected.
Sometimes this notification actually ends up being a fight due to a misunderstanding. Maybe they are afraid to be around you for fear of contracting it. Talk about the facts to avoid misunderstandings, for example:
- The development of hepatitis C in a person's body is very slow and may not show any symptoms for decades, even forever.
- Hepatitis C is a disease that can be overcome. Once you have hepatitis C symptoms, go for treatment quickly.
- Hepatitis C is very difficult to spread to other people, so the risk of being transmitted to people living around you is very small.
5. Talk to your partner about your hepatitis C
Because hepatitis C can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, it is very important to discuss this with your partner. Fortunately, the risk of transmitting hepatitis C through sexual intercourse is very small. It's safer if you use a condom, because condoms can protect your partner from hepatitis C and protect you from other sexually transmitted diseases. However, if you have sex with the same partner for a long period of time, the risk of contracting hepatitis C is very small.
Don't be discouraged by your condition
Most people who have hepatitis C have a long life. Most of those who have hepatitis C do not show symptoms of hepatitis C for decades, not even at all. Maybe even, with you diagnosed with hepatitis C, you are inspired to live healthier and enjoy your life, physically and mentally.
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