I like lists, particularly top ten lists. Here are my suggestions for living with hepatitis C:
- Don't drink alcohol. None. While you are at it, skip recreational drugs and tobacco; coffee is OK unless you have a medical reason to avoid it. In fact, coffee may protect the liver and help with hepatitis C treatment.
- Get a good healthcare provider and see him/her regularly.
- Join a hepatitis C group. Web-based groups are an alternative to in person groups. Be sure the group uses solid information, is positive and supportive.
- Get hepatitis A and B immunizations.
- Maintain a normal weight. Eat a low fat, high fiber diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Avoid trans-fatty acids, saturated fats, and raw or undercooked shellfish.
- Use caution with prescription, over-the-counter drugs, and dietary supplements, particularly those that contain acetaminophen. Never take excessive doses of anything unless medically-directed.
- Exercise every day. A little exercise is better than none at all.
- Sleep regular hours, 7-9 every night.
- Engage your spirit in meaningful ways: Be grateful, help others, have fun, whatever takes you outside of yourself. Learn how to manage your reactions to stress.
- Laugh a lot. Pursue humor as if your life depended on it, which it does.
OK, I cheated and bunched a few together to make it look like ten. Let's face it, "top fourteen tips" lacks something.