Studies have shown that consumption of alcohol can accelerate liver disease progression. Most experts recommend that people living with HCV and other liver conditions should avoid alcohol since there is no known safe level of use. Many drugs (whether prescription, over-the-counter, or recreational) must be processed by the liver, and people with hepatitis C should avoid recreational drugs and tobacco. Check with your doctor before taking over-the-counter or prescription medications because some can cause liver toxicity, especially in people with an existing liver disease. Certain herbal remedies have also been shown to damage the liver.
Everything you breathe or absorb through the skin must be filtered by the liver. Fumes from paint thinners, pesticides, and aerosol sprays can damage your liver and should be avoided whenever possible.
Self-Help Tip: Choosing a Medical Provider or Specialist
Even if you are satisfied with your current medical provider you should consider the following:
- Does the provider seem knowledgeable and experienced about hepatitis C? Will he or she refer you to a specialist?
- Does the provider listen and communicate well?
- Does the provider explain complicated medical terms and answer all of your questions?
- Does the provider give you his or her full attention?
- Do you trust the provider to help you make important medical decisions?