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Newly Diagnosed with Hepatitis C?
Finding out that you have hepatitis C can be a shock. You may be feeling like you don’t know what to do next. Here are some things you can think about to help you start dealing and living with hepatitis C:
Additional testing - If you’ve only had the first level or antibody test for hep C done, think about contacting a health care provider to get the RNA test done. This test will tell you whether the hep C virus is still active in your body, or if you’ve cleared it on your own.
Take good care of yourself - Hepatitis C causes liver damage. Everything you eat drink, smoke, swallow, or rub on your skin goes through your liver. Think about what you put in your body so you can minimize harm to your liver. Reduce your alcohol intake. It’s the most harmful thing for your liver. Help your liver do its job. Eating a healthy, low-fat, low salt diet. Drinking plenty of water. Get enough rest. Do some light exercise.
Learn about your Hep C - Understanding hep C will help you make decisions about your health. Hep C is a slow moving illness so there’s no need for you to make quick decisions. Make sure you know how Hep C is spread so you can prevent transmitting it to others. Hep C is only spread through blood to blood contact; knowing this will help you protect yourself and others.
Consider getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B - Having more than one type of hepatitis could be very hard on your liver. Talk to your healthcare provider about what type of hep C you have (called your genotype) as well as how much hep C you have in your blood (called viral load). This information will help you and your healthcare provider make the best treatment decisions for you.
Consider treatment - You can live a healthy life with hep C. Treatment works better for some than for others. Talk with a healthcare provider to find out more about treatment and make the decision that's best for you.
Think about getting support - Many people find it helpful to join a support group or connect with other people through the internet who also have hep C. Talk with people you care about and build a strong support system for yourself.
For more answers, visit our New with Hep C FAQ page.