I have been newly diagnosed with Hep C. Viral load 44,000 AST 111 ALT 235 all other blood work, bilarubin, ALP, platelets, etc are well within normal ranges. I quit drinking as soon as I heard that my enzymes were up 4 weeks ago. I have been feeling very slight pressure under my right rib cage. It comes and goes and otherwise I feel fine. I have my first consult with the Gastroneneterology/Hepatolgy specialist in two weeks. Is this something I should be concerned about in the short term? I find it a bit unsettling and it has been interfering with sleep, more because of the worry than the sensation.
It is common for the liver to swell a little in the earlier stages of liver disease, so I think a feeling of slight pressure there is fairly common. Your liver itself has no nerves for pain, so what you are feeling is just a little pressure on the other organs. This symptom in itself is not something you need to worry about, but you do need to talk to the hepatologist about your best treatment options to get rid of the virus. I'm very glad you quit drinking right away, and you need to stick to that for at least until after you get rid of the virus, maybe longer if your liver has been damaged very much. The tests you have had don't actually indicate the current condition of your liver, and your hepatologist will most likely suggest a biopsy, as that is the only really reliable way to assess the damage (fibrosis, or scarring) to the liver. The degree of fibrosis is what determines how urgent it is that you treat the virus. If you have little or no fibrosis you may consider waiting a couple of years to treat with the non-interferon drugs that are currently being tested, but if you have medium or higher levels of fibrosis most will advise treating ASAP. Treatments are both easier and more likely to be successful in patients with lower degrees of liver damage, so its important to try to treat before the damage progresses much. On the other hand, if you aren't drinking, it usually progresses quite slowly, so that us why people with little damage will often choose to wait for the non-interferon drugs. (Interferon is a difficult drug to take, with many side effects.) You will have some big decisions coming up. Make sure you are seeing a doctor who is experienced in treating Hepatitis C patients, who is easy to talk to, and who will be easy to reach if you have any alarming side effects come up during treatment. Don't go with anyone who hasn't treated a number of Hepatitis C cases already or who seems likely to ignore your concerns. Good luck!
Thanks, That does help. I am having my blood drawn for genotyping on Monday so will arrive at the specialist with that info. I am going to the Dartmouth Hitchcock medical facility in Lebanon, NH which is a Dartmouth College/Mayo Clinic facility, it comes highly recommended and they evidently do have extensive experience with HCV.
Hello Ceanthus has given you excellent advice. While the feeling is disconcerting your doctor will be able to help you during your appointment so it is not something you need to go to the ER for. I hope you will let us know how you are doing after the appointment. I hope that you have little damage and can wait for one of the newer drugs under investigation now. Good luck Dee
As it turns out I think maybe the tightness I feel is muscular. It's almost gone and I now feel it mostly when I bend over to pick something up or stretch. I feel a little silly about having posted this here but with the new diagnosis I guess I'm being a bit paranoid. When I felt the tightness in my upper right quadrant I assumed it was connected to the HCV. I'm still not 100% convinced either way but I am going to try and ignore it for the next few days until I get to my appointment on Thursday.
I'm expecting the result from the genotyping test tomorrow or the next day and my consult with the specialist is on Thursday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I don't have too much damage. I went for a 50 mile bike ride yesterday and felt great. It does seem like a major disconnect that I can feel so good but have this virus lurking in me doing it's dirty deed....
Thanks everyone, I've been reading the posts and learning a lot.
Wow, a 50-mile bike ride! You obviously must take good care of yourself, which is a good indication that you'll probably do a good job following through on getting rid of this nasty virus too. Good luck!
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