Hepatitis is a virus that damages the cells of the liver and causes inflammation. As a condition that can be exasperated and that worsens over time, it is important to understand exactly what care needs to be given to someone suffering with it. Although hep C and alcoholism don’t always go hand-in-hand, drinking excessively can both cause and contribute to the severity of the disease.
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One of the most common and widely understood conditions that comes with excessive alcohol consumption is liver damage. As this organ’s main function within the body is to detoxify the blood, it is quickly obvious that overworking it in terms of cleansing high levels of alcohol can cause issues. When breaking down too much alcohol, and on a regular basis, damage can occur.
Chronic hepatitis can lead to chronic liver disease – and this condition can lead to cirrhosis (permanent scarring of the liver). The virus itself is treatable in terms of reducing liver damage (often with direct-acting antiviral therapy), but this can be effected by the consumption of alcohol.
The hep virus isn’t easy to detect in its early stages and can be fought off by the body’s defence systems. That is, unless the liver is already suffering from damage from alcohol abuse. In these instances, the risk of developing chronic hepatitis is greater.
As treatments can be effected by alcohol, it is advisable for consumption to stop – and in many cases, altogether.
If the thought of cutting down on your alcohol intake is a concern, then yes. Rehab facilities can help a range of addictions; from those that are mild, to ones that are more severe in nature. There is likely to be a treatment that will suit even the most specific of needs, no matter how complicated they may seem. When you are unsure, it’s always best to get advice from local healthcare providers to be on the safe side.
If your alcohol consumption isn’t a problem, but you are not happy about never drinking again, advice and counselling may be of benefit. Outpatient rehab programs can be there to support those who are quitting drinking – and medical experts who understand your needs in terms of hepatitis will be able to offer specific care and attention.
It may be worth it to bear in mind that addiction treatment specialists will be reluctant to treat hep C if alcohol use is present, so managing or quitting consumption could greatly affect the management your overall health.Brendan McCann