Hepatitis C is a virus that causes inflammation
of the Liver. It is called 'silent' because 80% of people
with 'Hep C' have no symptoms. It is not officially an epidemic,
but it is a disease worth talking about, because a little
knowledge and prevention could make a huge difference. Almost
1 in every 50 Americans has it (3.9 million). It is a dangerous
virus because it often causes a chronic state of liver inflammation
that leads to liver disease, and is the leading reason for
liver transplantation. You can get Hep C via sex, IV drug
use, occupational needle sticks, and a baby can get it from
its mother during childbirth. Alcoholics
and addicts are a particularly susceptible population.
Biomedical treatments for Hep C usually
involve a drug cocktail of interferon and ribavirin. This
combination is 40% successful at eliminating the virus (at
least temporarily- only 10-15% of patients' viral load remains
undetectable for more than 6 months). It is appropriate for
the patient and doctor to weigh the pros and cons of such
treatment together. This
therapy is indicated for Hep C patients with cirrhosis or
scarring of the liver (from chronic inflammation). The
side effects of this drug cocktail can make life quite uncomfortable.
Interferon has a number of psychological side-effects. Its
long-term use may cause significant irritability, anxiety,
personality changes, depression, and even suicide or acute
psychosis. Patients are especially at risk if they already
have a serious psychiatric condition or neurological disease.
Interferon therapy is also associated with (and might cause)
relapse in newly sober alcoholics and addicts.
One should not take interferon therapy if one
has severe depression or other neuropsychiatric syndromes,
active substance or alcohol abuse, autoimmune disease (such
as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, or psoriasis)
that is not under control, or bone marrow compromise. Contraindications
to ribavirin and thus the combination cocktail include marked
anemia, renal dysfunction, and coronary artery or cerebrovascular
disease. Bear in mind that many patients with psychological
problems are undiagnosed.
Chinese medicine has successfully treated
Hep C. In particular, Dr.
Qincai Zhang, who treats mostly Hep B & C, has produced
a number of alternative medicine books about and herbal products
for Hep C sufferers. His clinic has been recommended
by Dr. Andrew Weil, and he has had high success rates
at improving the health and lab tests of Hep C patients. Chinese
herbal treatments for Hep C are partly based upon herbs that
have been shown in studies to fight the Hep C virus. As with
all Chinese herbal medicine, each patient's unique constitution
and symptom-presentation determine the design of the herbal
formula. In this way, herbalists can avoid side-effects and
provide significant support to each patient.
information about Dr. Zhang's Chinese Medical treatments for