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Hepatitis C: What is the virus and how can it be treated?

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The rock legend describes many of the health problems that have plagued him for decades to have been caused by risky behaviour in his youth. He told Mirror.co.uk, “In my 20s, I lived the ultimate life. I was a heavy drinker and smoker back then. I am a very extreme sort of character as I don’t do things by halves. But when I drank, I drank like a fish. If I tried the drug element, I would end up going the whole hog and I wouldn’t be alive today.”

The 72 year old West Londoner has worked hard to turn his medical life around.

By the age of 25 the rock’n’roll lifestyle had given him three heart attacks, two of which had gone unnoticed until the third hospitalised him.

His liver had endured amount of abuse, generic pregabalin online canada inflamed with hepatitis and scarred by cirrhosis.

Over the next several years he worked hard to stop smoking and quit alcohol.

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The music legend continued with various medical problems carrying on into the present day.

In 1999 he was put into an induced coma while suffering from double pneumonia and pleurisy.

A diet high in meat led him to become overweight, developing type two diabetes and high blood pressure.

Despite his self-described status as a “perpetual weight loss failure”, he remains in better health and continues to both produce music and fight for animal rights, working to rescue bears from bile farms.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, either caused by a viral infection or the result of alcohol damage.

The durability of the liver as an organ can sometimes mean that symptoms do not develop until liver failure develops, but it can be discovered before this by blood tests.

When it does produce symptoms, they can often overlap with cirrhosis, the appearance of scars on the liver that impair its function.

Both are best known for the symptom of jaundice, a yellowing of the skin as the liver loses the ability to remove bile from the blood.

Milder symptoms can include nausea, weight loss and swelling of the legs and gut.

If you believe you have liver disease your GP can organise blood tests, ultrasound scans or biopsies alongside reviewing your medical history for other signs of the disease.

When identified early it can be treated by improvements to lifestyle and general health.

There are also vaccines available against common strains of the hepatitis virus, which are recommended when travelling to regions where it is prevalent.

Alcoholic hepatitis is the more prevalent type found in the UK, although the lack of symptoms often leaves it undiagnosed.

It can progress into cirrhosis, liver failure or cancer depending on the extent of damage to the liver.

You can reduce the risk of these happening by controlling your alcohol consumption and avoiding binge drinking.

Periods without drinking will allow your liver to recover.

The liver is thankfully the organ of the human body best able to recover from abuse.

Experiments have shown after injuries or surgeries removing as much as half of the liver it retains the ability to grow back the entire missing portion.

Testing on rodents have shown that their liver can recover from severe damage in less than a week.

If the damage from hepatitis or cirrhosis is beyond the ability of the liver to repair, a transplant is often the only treatment option.

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