Recovery Rises ISSUE 3 - Page 20

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18

Life and Liver

By Angela Fagan

"I did not find out the consequences of my drug abuse, untill I was having my son, which was a bit of a shock, I thought I would have had some side effects but it is catching up with me now, as I am suffering with my kidneys. I do know it has something to do with Hep C, and I have been told I could not have any treatment because of this, which could have benefited me. Although people please don’t be put off by this everyone is not the same"

Hepatitis C is a virus that is carried in the blood and predominantly affects the liver; it is sometimes called HCV or Hep C. As a student on the D2DI course I myself have personal experience of Hep C and the treatment used.

. Hep C is more common in the south Asian population, this is very important to be checked in by your doctor if you were born around 1945 - 1965 and I would say you seek treatment. Hepatitis is a medical term for a swelling of the liver.

Deaths due to Hep C have been on the rise and are expected to increase even more.

The liver has over 500 functions and is the only organ capable of repairing itself if the problems are noticed in time.

“Hep C is also a leading cause

of liver cancer and leading

reason for liver transplants”

Other serious health problems relating to Hep C include liver damage, cirrhosis, and liver failure.

This picture is showing the effects of cirrhosis of the liver.

Treatment for Hep C

Pegylated interferon - weekly injection

Ribavirin - twice a day in tablet form

Teleprevir - protease inhibitors

Boceprevir - protease inhibitors

Triple therapy is aimed at a 65 - 75% success rate within patients

The use of 3 separate medicines at the same time is triple therapy using pegylated interferon and ribavirin with a protease inhibitor (Either telaprevir or boceprevin)

Viral blood - the amount of virus genetic material in a blood sample, vital load is determined by polymerase chain reaction. (PCR) and Hep C are usually expressed as RNA international units (IV) per millimetre. (E.G 800,000 Iv / ml)

Interferon side effects - flu like symptoms 6-8 hours after start of treatments and worse after injections.

Other side effects - fever, malais, tachycardia (fast heart rate), chills, headaches, joint pains, arthritis, muscle pain

Later side effects - fatigue, malaise (uneasy), cognitive changes (thoughts)

Neuropsychiatric side effects - fatigue, weakness, drowsiness, and lack of initiative, irritability, confusion, apathy, behavioural moods, and severe depression may occur, suicidal ideation well described, but suicide has been reported when no previous history was a problem.

This person here is suffering from the effects of suicidal thoughts from the effects of

hepatitis treatment;this can be one of the terrible side effects of treatment.