Extra-hepatic Manifestations

Extra-hepatic manifestations of Hepatitis C

When many people think of Hep C they think of "liver disease" but Hep C has impacts across the body. Rates of depression, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, autoimmune disease and strange neurological stuff are all higher in patients with Hep C. While Hepatocellular cancer is a commonly know risk, other cancers like renal cell (kidney) and lymphoma occur at much higher rates.

One of the things that has surprised me is how patients improve on treatment. It's not just the lifting of the brain fog, but little annoyances that most people have put down to getting old.

My second patient on generics came in on week 4 for her blood test and said "This stuff is amazing, for the first time in 20 years I can get up in the night to go to the toilet and my feat don't hurt." 

Another patient had all over body tingling, which given there is no known medical condition causing it marks him as "one of those patients" who have something for which medicine has no name and no solution. During treatment he reported the tingling leaving his chest, and then his shoulders, elbows, wrists and finally his fingers. No idea why, but a win is a win...

So while there are no guarantees, and we do all get old and creaky and leaky with time, treating Hep C can often generate really pleasing improvements in quality of life.

There are no treatments without risks and side effects,  but for the majority of patients life really is better post treatment.