Take Control Of Your Overall Health
Taking care of your overall health, including your liver health, is important when you have chronic hep C. Your liver has several jobs:
- Processing nutrients from food
- Making bile
- Removing toxins from the blood
- Maintaining blood sugar levels
- Building proteins
Listed below are some ways to help support your liver health. Talk with your doctor before making any lifestyle changes, such as starting a new exercise routine or changing your diet.
If you have hepatitis C, there are some things you can do to take care of yourself, like maintaining a healthy diet. Healthy diets are those low in fat, salt, and sugar and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid fatty foods and foods containing added sugars.
Some changes you might want to discuss with your doctor include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight to prevent fat from building up in your liver
- Limiting the salt in your diet to avoid fluid buildup in your stomach area
- Taking it easy on sugar. Sugar adds calories but few nutrients. This can contribute to weight gain, which can contribute to additional liver problems
Physical activity can positively impact your health. It can also improve your mood and give you more energy. Exercise ranges from intense activity like running to more gentle options like walking, yoga, or tai chi. Talk with your doctor about what activities will be best for you.
If you have hep C, drinking alcohol can be especially harmful to your health. Research shows that alcohol may contribute to the progression of liver disease. This can make liver damage happen faster, and it puts you at greater risk for cirrhosis. One effective way to slow the progression of liver damage from hep C is to avoid alcohol completely. If you need help giving up alcohol, you can find it on our “Support Resources” page.
The liver processes drugs, so only take drugs that are prescribed by your doctor. If you need help coping with drug abuse, visit our support page.
Cigarette smoking can damage almost every organ in your body and may make some liver diseases worse. If you smoke, consider quitting or reducing the amount that you smoke. Speak with your doctor about creating a plan to help you quit.
The amount of sleep a person needs can vary, but experts recommend 7 to 8 hours for adults. Not getting the sleep you need may affect your health. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Go to bed when you’re tired
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule
- Don’t consume caffeine close to bedtime
- Limit distractions that could keep you awake, such as using your computer, cell phone, or other electronic devices
Lack of sleep can increase your stress level. When possible, it’s important to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. It may seem obvious, but it’s important to go to sleep when you’re tired. Try to get to sleep every night around the same time and wake up around the same time to keep your sleep schedule regular. Avoid naps in the afternoon, caffeine close to bedtime, or anything else that could keep you awake in the evening. And try to shut down your computer, cell phone, or other electronics close to bedtime—they can actually make it harder for you to fall asleep.