Hepatitis Forums

Hepatitis C Main Forums => I Just Tested Positive for Hepatitis C => Topic started by: Krael on June 26, 2018, 12:05:16 pm

Title: Father just diagnosed and has Cirrhosis
Post by: Krael on June 26, 2018, 12:05:16 pm

My father was just discovered to have Hep-C due to some crazy looking bruises and whatnot on his legs for many months. Further testing now shows he has cirrhosis with his liver in result of that and likely the many years of extremely heavy drinking.

He just finished his course of the drug that should hopefully cure him of the virus. But, the damage is already done. The doctors have not told him what stage he is with the cirrhosis outside of he doesn't need a transplant yet and there does not seem to be much scaring like it was minor.

My father has been sober for like 15 years now and outside of the bruises and a little bit of fatigue during the drug taking to cure, he is totally fine and working normal. So anything recent to his liver is from the virus we assume. But, looking online shows a lot of bad prognosis for cirrhosis. That even in earlier stages, it's a progressive disease and will eventually continue to get worse. Is that true even if the causes of the cirrhosis have been cured? (I.e.: no drinking, hep-c is gone). Seems weird that your liver will just continue to kill itself even if nothing is there to keep scaring it? I'm confused.
Title: Re: Father just diagnosed and has Cirrhosis
Post by: Mugwump on June 27, 2018, 03:15:54 am
To help answer your question, think of the liver as a mesh of blood vessels connected by tissues that generate new liver cells throughout ones lifetime. Because your father is not on a transplant list there is still enough active healthy liver there to do the job adequately and he is at a low risk of liver failure.

Also, because the causes of loss of vascular structure that builds new liver cells in replacement of those that naturally die are gone: his liver will continue to build new cells that replace the disease destroyed ones in the areas that are still capable of creating new liver cells.
By definition stage one, or compensated cirrhosis is a condition where a significant area of the liver can no longer create new cells, because the connective tissues and blood vessels have become atrophied and stiff.

I have compensated cirrhosis as have many who have been cured recently by the new treatments. My liver functions have improved drastically and I am much healthier than I was before treatment because my liver is now working better and not producing toxic levels of by products.

The liver damage done to some with HCV can be very much akin to having a nightmarish never ending hangover that will not quit.  Even if you don't drink when you have HCV you can feel like crap when the disease is attacking you heavily. Some of us, if infected for years, can tell when the disease is attacking heavily. Because even if they we do not drink, all of a sudden we feel like we have an inexplicable hangover.

For years before I was diagnosed with HCV, I felt like I had a very bad case of "Monday flu" syndrome.
It was this complaint and sudden elevated liver enzymes and iron on a blood test as if I was a chronic alcoholic: that finally led my doctor to request a test for HCV in 1993. But I had suspected that there was something strange going on with me other than moderate drinking for a great many years by that time. 

Because the constant drinking of alcohol also kills liver cells it is the leading cause of cirrhosis all by itself, therefore: it is a double whammy to drink while you have HCV eating away at your liver. Especially if you already have compensated cirrhosis or even mild fibrosis of the liver for that matter.

A great many people live long normal lives with minimal levels of functioning liver left and it is impossible to predict how long anyone with cirrhosis will live for this very reason. But having the causes of the damage under control certainly will help your father to live longer. As my doctor said to me with sarcasm in response to "How long on average do those with cirrhosis survive?"
His answer was;"I don't see a checkout time on your ticket yet Eric!"


Title: Re: Father just diagnosed and has Cirrhosis
Post by: Lynn K on June 27, 2018, 05:18:53 pm
I had hep c for 37 years before I was cured 3 years ago. Unfortunately I was diagnosed with cirrhosis after 30 years of hep c infection. I was diagnosed with cirrhosis in January 2008.

There is much evidence available to indicate that if you remove the cause of liver damage like hep c or excessive alcohol consumption if there is not much liver damage the liver will likely no longer progress to further liver damage and may in some cases (again depending if extent of liver damage) may improve with time.

With cure of hep c he will still need to be monitored every 6 months with abdominal ultrasounds and blood testing to monitor for early signs of liver cancer (HCC) as those with cirrhosis are at an increased risk. But being cured even the risk of HCC is greatly reduced. He should be monitored by a hepatologist or at least a gastroenterologist preferably associated with a liver transplant center not so much because he needs a transplant but because they are best equipped to monitor a patient with advanced liver disease.

I assume he has had an upper endoscopy to check for esophageal varicies. Also he should be immunized against hepatitis A and hepatitis B and have been directed to have his annual flu shot as soon as it becomes available.

But yes with cure if he doesn’t have much liver damage the goal is to live a long and healthy life and die from something other than liver disease.

Best of luck to you both