About 3 years ago I developed morphea, which spread rather rapidly across much of my torso. No blood markers for autoimmunity, but biopsy ascertained that it was definitely morphea, which is a form of scleroderma.
About a year after that, my liver enzymes rose. Diagnosis: hepatitis C, which I'd apparently had for over 20 years, despite having none of the usual risk factors in my past. such as intravenous drug use or transfusions. I have since learned that many people with hepatitis C suffer from autoimmune disorders. If I could get it, anybody could. Doctors normally don't test for hep C unless liver enzymes go up. So for more than 20 years, I was walking around with a disease that was destroying my liver and perhaps causing a disfiguring autoimmune disease.
I recommend to all of you that you ask your doctor for a hepatitis C antibody test with your next bloodwork. It can be cured - mine was.
What are you referring to that was "cured"?. What is the "disfiguring disease" that you mention? Have you "perused" the Hepatitis Community forum here? That is pretty much all "alphabet Heps" and you might find it rather interesting and informative. However - Hep. C and AutoImmune do not necessarily go together.
Being diagnosed with AutoImmune Hepatitis, which is non-viral & non-contagious, I have done a lot of research, talked with a lot of people who have AIH and others who have Hep C (which IS viral and contagious thru blood) - there is a tremendous amount of difference between the 2 problems and their treatments.
Would you mind being a bit more specific? What kind of tests/labs have you had and how long ago? What meds are you on? etc. -:)
I've been on the hepatitis community here for some time and just discovered this one. The "cured" disease was the hep c. I realize that hep c and autoimmune disease don't always go together, but often they do. Many of the people in the hep c community suffer from RA, thyroid problems, AIH, lupus, diabetes (which can have an autoimmune component) and others. I'm the only one with morphea, but there are some cases of scleroderma as well. The morphea is the disfiguring disease. You can google it if you wish to know more.
When my morphea was diagnosed, prior to diagnosis of the hep c, I was sent to a rheumatologist who tested for ANA and all the other pertinent markers - I had none of them.
The point I'm trying to make is that few doctors test ordinary people, people who lack the "risk factors," for hep c until their liver enzymes indicate a problem. Since there is such a close association between autoimmunity and hep c, I just want to recommend an antibody test - not just for people with autoimmune disease but for everybody. There are loads of us heppers who never did drugs or had transfusions. Maybe it was that kid you shared an exacto knife with in art class, or your blood brother in Cub Scouts who gave it to you. Hopefully, none of you have it, but wouldn't it be a good idea to find out?
Maybe I've just been blessed with good Drs. I agree that usually not a lot is done until "something shows up" -:( Mine was an increased ANA level. I had one Dr. pooh pooh it - said I had probably had it all my life!! ?? The next Dr. however did the Hep. tests as soon as the ANA came back positive. Thank God the "alphabet heps" came back neg. ( lot of praying going on for that one). This Dr. did want me to see a Rheumatologist but job and time constraints didn't allow it until last year (the original was in '99).
I am glad that your Hep C is cleared. That's awesome. From what I have read it is not an easy thing. The treatment that I have for AIH is nothing compared to Hep C treatment. This Thanksgiving I am very thankful and grateful that mine is the lesser.
Thank you for the nicely put information. -:)) I guess I still have a lot to learn.
Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving and keep posting the info.
I had some autoimmune issues prior to having hepc. I have a very recent case of hepc which was acute and fortunately for me I caught it very early and I am currently treating. What pigeonca is saying is correct, hepc and autoimmune issues absolutely do go hand in hand. There is a greatly increased incidence of RA, fibromyalgia and other autoimmune issue in people with hepc. The more research that is done, the more it appears as though Hepc is really more of a virus that affects the whole body than a disease of just the liver.
In ADDITION to this, the treatment for hepc also frequently causes a HUGE variety of autoimmune issues in quite a large number of people treating. It frequently seems as though its difficult to escape treatment without some sort of permanent side effect at times. I'm developing RA, and I know others who have burned out their thyroids on treatment. We have many on our forum who have developed diabetes and other issues as well.
And then of course, there is autoimmune hepatitis, which is a different type of hepatitis from hepc, that can sometimes become quite serious very quickly (I believe in cases such as fulminant hepatitis? where the liver fails quite suddenly and precipitously) I'm not terribly well versed on Auto-immune hep sorry to say, nor on its treatment or clinical course. I am aware though that it is a difficult illness to treat.
The good news for hepc is that it is becoming more and more treatable all the time. There is at least a 40% TO 50% cure rate with current therapies, difficult though they may be to stomach, and lengthy as well. And if you catch it early as in my case, the odds go up to 90% to 100%. There are a few new treatments in clinical trials now as well. So although hepc is certainly not a fun disease to have, there is a lot of good new research going on, and treatment options are expanding. And yes, it is related to autoimmune disorders in both its natural disease course and in its treatment, unfortunately.
That said, This hepper is still going to have a Happy Turkey Day, and I wish everyone out there a Happy Thanksgiving!
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