My grandmother has had Hepatitis C for years and she is now 69 years old. She has been drug and alcohol free for over 30 years but the damage was already in progress. She never did the treatment for Hep C because her gastric doctor thought it would be too harsh for someone her age. She just got a liver biopsy and has been diagnosed with Cirrhosis of the liver stage 3/4 (stage 3, border line 4) yet she has absolutely no visible symptoms at all.
We're scared of the unknown and not sure what happens from here. Grandma feels and looks perfectly healthy (people always guess her age to be in her 40s although she's 69) because she's still very active and vibrant! So can anyone share their personal story or experience with a similar situation? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much in advance! .
No symptoms don't mean a thing with this virus. I had no symptoms until I had decompensated cirrhosis,meaning end stage liver disease.
The other obvious thing is to be sure she is not drinking any alcohol.
She should also be taking vitamin D or get tested for it to see if she is lacking.
The problem in this case is your Grandma's age. Interferon treatment is tough. There are clinical trials for the new interferon oral treatments that she might want to consider.
I can't really offer much information other than to suggest that Grandma see a hepatologist, liver specialist, to get an opinion.
GI's are not as experienced with liver disease and hep C, is a virus that affects the liver.
Your Grandmother definitely needs to see a Hepatologist, soon. It is true that age is a factor and so is the fact that she has cirrhosis. However, she still should be under the care of a Hepatologist. Once she is under his/her care, then he/she can discuss with your Grandmother whether she is healthy enough to treat.
I am 66 and on triple med treatment now and I am doing really well. I have had side effects, but I have had no major side effects. (By major I mean low blood counts, eye problems, severe rashes, etc.) I went into treatment, though, with basically no major health problems other than Hep C.
There are two men on the forum (that I know about) who are 70 and 71 respectively and they are both doing triple med treatment now.
I just wanted to add this information to let you know that there are a few older people in treatment so age (being 69) by itself would not necessarily keep her from treating. A lot also depends on her basic health. And probably a lot depends on the Hepatologist.
at stage 3/4 her liver although at early cirrhosis, would still be compensated i believe, which means the liver is still functioning and alot of the time, there will be no symptoms.
Once the liver becomes decompensated (the liver stops functioning properly), the signs will show and a liver transplant will probably be her only answer at that time.
How long will it take for the liver to become decompesated? That is unknown, it is different for everyone...it could take a few years, it could happen quicker, it may not happen at all, she may pass from something else...
She should try to see a hepatologist if she can, and be monitored at the very least...
Hi there. many doctors are reluctant to treat HCV after certain ages,mainly because of underlying health issues one may have when older.
I would agree with the advice you have been given above that your grandma should be seen by a Hepatologist who specializes in diseases of the liver and are most knowledgeable about HCV and the treatment regimes.
Does she know hr Geno type? This is important in regards to how harsh the treatment may be.For Geno type 2 &3 there are only 2 drugs taken and usually for 24 weeks,whereas for Geno type 1 the usual treatment is 3 different drugs and may be somewhat harsher .
Also I would advise she talk to the specialist about having a IL28B gene test . It is a simple blood test that will help predetermined for her and her doctor the likelihood of treatment success
If she is as fit and in good health as you say she may still be a good candidate for therapy ,however a Hepa would need to evaluate her to ascertain this with any certainty and I would advise ,like others have above this should be looked into soon due to the advancing liver fibrosis.
Yes a hepatologist is a must, knowing her geno type would also help. You say shes in good health and active. Myself i don't think shes to old to treat. Unless she could get into a trial waiting what could be 3 to 5 years might not be a good ideal. Best of luck to all of you.
Thank you, greatly. I really appreciate EVERYONE'S feedback. You all have been extremely helpful, and I'm forever grateful knowing that there are amazing people still willing to help a total stranger. I'm just scared of the "unknown" and wondering if she can and will survive all of this. Do you know or have ever heard of anyone surviving Cirrhosis stage 4 caused by chronic Hepatitis C? I'd love to hear some success stories because right now, I'm feeling rather discouraged. I keep reassuring my grandmother that she will be okay but I don't really know if that's true so I cry alone every night since her diagnosis, and I'm terrified. Bless you all!
No one can say how long someone with cirrhosis will live. The disease progresses rapidly in some and slower on others.
She really needs to see a qualified Hepatologist who is knowledgeable in treating people with Hep C and she should see the Hepatologist soon. As Will said, she could potentially still be treated if she is healthy enough. You are in Brooklyn, perhaps there is a large university associated transplant medical center near you. If I were you, I would call and get an appointment to have her evaluated so that if she is healthy enough, she can start treatment sooner rather than later.
I know there are a couple of people on the forum who had transplants and are treating now.
I know there are some people on the foum who have cirrhosis and are treating now, most with triple therapy (for Genotype 1).
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