How to Deal With Hepatitis-Related Fatigue

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Fatigue is a common problem for people who have hepatitis. Whether it is brought on directly by liver disease or is the side effect of medication, sufferers may feel extremely tired even after a full night of sleep. One study found that 67 percent of people with hepatitis C experienced some level of fatigue. Fatigue can range from mild to severe and can affect every area of life. Some people experience constant fatigue while others experience cycles of fatigue.

Dealing with fatigue requires patience since there are no easy solutions. However, these tips can help you control it.

Things You Can Do to Help Fatigue

  • Exercise regularly. Moderate exercise is a good way to help control fatigue. Maybe it seems a little odd to exercise when you're tired, but it is helpful for many people.
  • Eat healthful meals. A balanced diet is an excellent way to help manage fatigue. Start with the basic principles of what to eat if you have chronic hepatitis.
  • Don't overdo your schedule. Prioritize your day by doing essential activities first and then start other tasks as your energy level allows.
  • Avoid stressful situations. Here are five simple tips to help control stress.
  • Plan for regular, consistent amounts of sleep every night.
  • Take an afternoon nap. Regular 30-minute naps can be a big boost to your day and help manage fatigue.
  • Learn to relax. In today's hectic pace, activities like yoga and meditation are extremely popular. You don't need to be stressed out business executive or fitness guru to benefit from these relaxation techniques.

Things Your Doctor Can Do to Help Fatigue

  • It's a good idea to report fatigue to your doctor. Even though some fatigue is probably unavoidable with liver disease, there are ways your doctor may be able to help.
  • Treat your hepatitis. Your fatigue usually will significantly decrease if you can achieve a sustained virologic response.
  • Diagnose and treat anemia. Since anemia is a possible cause of fatigue, your doctor can determine if this is an underlying concern. Anemia occurs when the blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells.
  • Diagnose and treat other conditions that cause fatigue, such as thyroid disease.
  • Prescribe medicine to help you sleep better. Doctors must use careful judgment here because the liver is usually responsible for breaking down drugs in the body. Any benefit from the medication must be weighed against possible risks of damaging the liver.

In general, doctors can search for other treatable causes of fatigue. This may require blood tests, a complete physical examination and ask you a lot of questions about your symptoms.

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Article Sources

  • A Guide to Understanding and Managing Fatigue. A publication of the Hepatitis C Support Project.
  • MD Consult. Fatigue Patient Fact Sheet. Elsevier, Inc. 2009.