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Additional Information About Hepatitis C TreatmentBefore you can begin hepatitis C treatment, your healthcare provider will need to do a few blood tests. These tests will help your doctor determine the levels of certain substances in your blood. Because the medications used to treat hepatitis C do have side effects, you will continue to have blood tests done throughout your treatment. If your blood test levels change too much, your treatment program may need to be modified.
Within several months of beginning the combination therapy, your healthcare provider will be able to tell you whether the hepatitis C treatment is working. This is done with the viral RNA blood test. This same test was used to determine whether you had the hepatitis C virus in your body and how much of it was there. If the treatment is working, the amount of virus RNA in your blood will have gone down. If your treatment is not working, the amount of RNA that was originally found will stay the same or even increase.
Things to Consider While on Hepatitis C TreatmentDuring (and even after) hepatitis C treatment, it is important for people to stay as healthy as they can and avoid anything that could hurt their liver. To do this, you should:
- Follow a good eating plan every day
- Keep your weight in a healthy range
- Exercise regularly
- Stop the use of tobacco products
- Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol poisons your liver and can cause even more damage to the cells that are already fighting the hepatitis C virus. Drinking alcohol increases your chances of developing severe liver damage and cirrhosis. The exact amount of alcohol that will harm the liver isn't known. Therefore, it's generally recommended that people with HCV avoid alcohol completely.
Also, people with hepatitis C are more likely to get a more dangerous condition called acute liver failure. To help reduce this risk, people with hepatitis C should also be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.