What can be done if the antibody test for hepatitis C is reactive?
If the antibody test for hepatitis C is reactive, another test helps to see if the hepatitis virus’s RNA is present in the blood and thus confirm that an infection still exists.
Test results of viral load:
- Negative means that a person has been infected with hepatitis C, but the virus has been removed from the body. This person is not infected.
- Positive means that a person has hepatitis C and is currently infected.
What therapy is there for hepatitis C?
The treatment of hepatitis C has progressed well in recent years.
The main goal of treatment is to eliminate the hepatitis C virus from the body and prevent liver diseases such as cirrhosis.
Considering that the damage from hepatitis C begins gradually, the timing of when infected people start therapy can make a big difference.
It is recommended to start treatment as early as possible.
The usual treatment is the combination of two different medications, pegylated interferon (or peginterferon) and ribavirin. This therapy can eliminate the virus in half of the cases. However, the chances vary depending on the type of virus.
Pegylated interferon is a drug similar to the substance interferon produced in the body.
The drug helps the body rid itself of the hepatitis C virus.
This can prevent the virus from harming the liver. As a rule, one injection per week is made.
Ribavirin is a drug that fights the virus.
This medication is taken daily in the form of tablets in combination with pegylated interferon.
A course of treatment lasts 6-12 months, depending on the type of hepatitis C.
It takes 12 weeks to tell if the treatment is effective.
Usually, a blood test is done about 12 weeks after starting treatment to see if the amount of the virus in the body has decreased.
If this is the case, then the prospects are good to eliminate the virus completely with treatment.
The side effect of taking interferon and ribavirin at the same time are:
- Nausea and loss of appetite
- Muscle and bone pain
- Insomnia and memory loss
- Dry skin, dry mucous membrane with rash
Other medications, such as boceprevir and telaprevir, may be given in some cases. These drugs are designed to prevent the reproduction of the hepatitis C virus in the body.
Both drugs are taken in tablet form.
Side effects of this treatment may include:
Some people need to switch to another treatment or reduce the dose if side effects occur.
The therapy of hepatitis C is in the development phase.
New treatments for hepatitis C
In 2014, an oral therapy was developed, the so-called ELECTRON study, based on: sofosbuvir + ledipasvir + ribavirin.
This therapy is effective and eliminates the hepatitis C virus from the body within 3-6 months (12-24 weeks).
Unfortunately, the cost of treatment is very high.
In some people with advanced cirrhosis, liver transplantation may be a therapeutic option.
Even though it is an extensive operation, the prospects after a liver transplant can be very good. However, the new liver can also be damaged if hepatitis C infection persists.
Diet and nutrition for hepatitis C
Everything you eat and drink goes to the liver. The liver converts food into energy and vital chemical substances.
Liver diet according to conventional medicine
A poor diet can lead to problems with the liver over time. If the diet is hypercaloric, weight gain occurs.
Obesity leads to fat accumulations in the liver, also called “fatty liver”. Over time, with fatty liver, the likelihood of a patient with hepatitis C developing cirrhosis increases.
Obesity and fatty liver also make it difficult to remove the hepatitis C virus by interferon and ribavirin.
The diet may contain harmful poisons for the liver. Some poisons act quickly. Eating poisonous mushrooms, for example, can lead to hepatic insufficiency and death in a few days. Other poisons, such as alcohol, damage the liver over time.
Natural remedies include a good diet that promotes liver health in a person with hepatitis C.
A balanced diet can lead to better liver function and a reduction in the risk of cirrhosis. It can also help strengthen the immune system and fight the disease.
After all, people infected with hepatitis C are more likely than others to develop diabetes. A healthy diet can help reduce body fat and keep blood sugar under control. It reduces the risk of diabetes.
It is important to eat regular and balanced meals.
Eating regularly means eating at least 3 meals a day. One way to maintain energy levels is to eat small meals or snacks at least every 3-4 hours.
During the treatment of hepatitis C, eating frequently can help prevent nausea, which is a side effect of the medication.
Balanced meals include a varied diet from the three food groups:
- Wheat, cereals and wholemeal bread
- Fruit and vegetables
- Dried beans, soy, nuts and eggs
Nutrition according to natural medicine
There are two nutritional approaches that have helped many people to heal: the natural hygiene according to Shelton and Lezaeta and the blood group diet according to Dr. D’Adamo / Mozzi.
1) According to Shelton, the symptoms of the liver are not caused by microbes, but by intestinal poisoning resulting from a poor diet. Based on this theory, the treatment consists of a fasting cure lasting several days, followed by a vegan diet/raw food diet and a healthy lifestyle.
2) The blood group diet explores the effect of food on the organism. Because of this diet, someone with a certain blood type would have to eat different foods than someone who belongs to a different blood type; however, there are foods that should be avoided in case of liver problems:
milk and dairy products, cereals (especially gluten-containing ones), pork, fried foods and alcohol.
People with blood type 0 should also reduce fruit, while members of blood type A – AB should avoid red meat.
What is the life expectancy? Prognosis for patients with hepatitis C
The genotype of hepatitis C is important because it can predict the success of treatment and provide an idea of how long medication needs to be taken.
For example, up to 50 percent of individuals with genotype 1 are thought to have a sustained response or success with treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin.
Patients with genotype 2 and 3 are more likely than patients with genotype 1 to respond positively to interferon alpha or the combination of interferon alpha and ribavirin.
If combination therapy is used, the duration of the recommended treatment also depends on the genotype.
For patients with genotype 2 and 3, therapy of 24 weeks is indicated, while for patients with genotype 1, treatment of 48 weeks is recommended.